A religion that takes me there

Image: Scott Walsh

Mainstream Christianity seems to still be about a series of promises and compromises between humans and a deity in the clouds. Like, here’s the things you do so that you keep God happy; and if you do them, he’ll keep his promise to send you to Heaven when you die with all the other bland white people.

Ugh… Religion could be so much more. Especially out west today, when we don’t burn each other at the stake for heresy (that I’ve heard of anyway).

From where I stand, God is an experience. An experience that rises us above the depths of our torturous egoic minds into a state of grace and heightened awareness of this thing called Life. Or something like that.

This seems to be the case across the board, whether I talk to a Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, or Atheist: they all speak of ‘something bigger than themselves’ when they speak of the Divine (even if they don’t call it ‘God’).

It’s very rare that someone has a true ‘religious experience’ in church. Mostly, people feel a lowering of awareness either into a state of guilt and lethargy or a place of, “Damn, this is cheesy as hell with horrible rock music, but it’s where my friends go, so I guess I’ll play along with it.”


We can do better. Can we please ditch the script and create something more powerful and compelling? Let’s scrap the shitty music and the faux righteousness for something that brings us all together and rises us above ourselves.

Let’s transform religion and create spaces and places where we humans go to tap into the God experience that is alive and well in us at all times.

Religion can very well be a place of light. And what does light do to darkness? It doesn’t ‘heal’ it. It doesn’t ‘convert’ it. It doesn’t work to change it. It just reveals itself and all of a sudden, it isn’t so dark anymore.

This is the nature of the God experience. When we can flip the switch, all of a sudden, the light’s on.

Religion should be a craft that’s based around designing human experiences of transcendence.

God doesn’t arise from scripture. Scripture arose out of it as one of an infinite number of incarnations.

What we have now largely reeks of inauthenticity, hypocrisy, and tastes as fake as the cheese on my Big Mac.

We need a safe place for candid, human conversations. We could use an arena to celebrate the divinely human experience. We are yearning to connect in a real way while celebrating the life force surging through our veins.

Yes, we can do it without a church. Sure, we can have the God experience in the woods, at the grocery store, or while looking into the eyes of our kids.

But we’re a tribal people. Sometimes we need a physical space outside our day to day lives to hold this presence.

Like a gym. For the soul. But different than SoulCycle.

Please, religion. Our bullshit detectors have evolved quite a bit these last few years. We expect more out of you. A lot more.

Take me there.

Jonas Ellison is a spiritual writer, teacher, practitioner, and an interfaith minister-in-training. He helps people deepen their lives through applied spirituality while documenting his journey along the way.

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