We’ve been thinking and talking a lot recently about a phenomenon that sometimes happens and that we’ve occasionally felt ourselves — something you might call a “spiritual whiplash.” It can happen when we’re really uplifted by something: maybe a book we’ve read, an inspiring group of people we’ve been around, or even a transcendental experience in nature. We’re feeling fed, and our cup is full… but then, we come back down to earth. We’re faced with the realities of the mundane, and the imperfections and humanity of the people all around us, including ourselves.
So — what are we supposed to do when we experience “spiritual whiplash”? Is it realistic to expect to stay in this spiritually uplifted state all the time? What about when even our Church meetings don’t feel like they’re recharging our batteries, but instead are draining them? When we’re feeling fed by something, how do we take that feeling with us to share in our everyday settings and communities, rather than resenting the contrast between them? How can we look at members of our communities as God might, rather than judging them for not meeting our standards — or even judging them for what we perceive as them judging us?
To discuss these issues, we brought back a trusted friend and mentor, Patrick Mason. Patrick is the Leonard Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University, and a frequent guest on this show and advisor to Faith Matters. He’s spoken and written quite a bit on this topic, including in his book Planted. He was an amazing conversation partner as we worked our way through some of these questions. We can’t thank him enough for coming back on.
As a note, we referenced our recent Restore gathering several times in the conversation, including presentations that were given by Brian McLaren, Jared Halverson, and Jody Moore. We also reference a few faith development frameworks that you’ll hear, including Brian’s which you can learn more about in his book Faith After Doubt.