I made a comment on Richard’s Watch today that I think is worth sharing with the readers here at AATW. It was made in the context of discussion about people getting involved with the Occult, the New Age, and other parts of that nexus.
Fascinating and a salutary warning to people who might be tempted to meddle with forces best left alone. Having an interest in these matters myself, I have come across numerous testimonies of Christians who, like you, had engaged with the spiritual world and faced terrible consequences.
I believe some blame for this phenomenon can be placed on the rise of materialism as a pervasive philosophy following the two World Wars. Man intuitively knows there is a supernatural world out there and longs to be linked with it. Refusing to bow to the authority of God, either because God’s morality is inherently unattractive to the sin nature or because the Church badly models Christ, he seeks the supernatural in places that reject the Gospel. Evil ensues.
I suspect another contributing factor in some cases is the simple, dressed-down version of liturgy found in a number of Protestant churches, including my own. While many of us, particularly Puritanesque Christians, approve of this, for some people worship needs to be outwardly special, not just about the connection in our hearts and minds. The spectacle of pagan and Jewish temple-style worship has been with mankind longer than the simplicity of the Protestant/Evangelical churches. Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and mid-to-high Anglicanism retain this spectacle with their vestments etc. If that sort of thing is what you need (or want?), but you do not want Christianity itself, I can see how you might be attracted to neo-paganism or esotericism, or living religions that have such displays.
Regarding miracles and unity, like you, I care about those things. But I also feel a tension in them, which perhaps the Lord will resolve now – but maybe not. I think, especially in the case of healing, there is a concern among many of us about the times when nothing seems to happen and we wonder what went wrong and feel bad for raising anybody’s hopes. In unity, there is the problem of doctrinal differences, and how to overcome them. Much as I would like to be a Catholic, and have wanted to be for much of my life, there is a part of me that has something like a Puritan’s worldview, and this prevents me from joining Rome. I reject the claims of the Magisterium and other parts of its structure and there is nothing I can do about that, because it is a conscience issue. In some respects, I think we are actually better at unity now than we used to be because we respect each other’s boundaries and consciences more; there is more of a modus vivendi than there was in previous history – even some acknowledgement of the good things in each other’s denominations.-At https://richards-watch.org/2019/05/11/searching-for-wrong-truth-traps-me-in-a-spiritual-prison/#comments
AATW from its inception (I was not a member in those days, however) was about Christians from different denominations giving their perspectives on issues of the day, both secular and church-related. Various ministries perform similar functions. I am particularly fond of Archbishop Cranmer’s blog and Anglican Unscripted, both of which, despite being Anglican in origin, have fans from across different Christian traditions.
Occasionally I will also watch videos from Catholic ministries, usually at the recommendation of Scoop or Phillip Augustine, such as TheRemnantvideo or Church Militant or Brian Holdsworth. These give me some insight into how Catholics (both cradle- and convert-) perceive the crisis within their own church, and the broader issues affecting Christians in the world. Understanding not only what other Christians think, but why they think it, is important in building unity, although impractical as regards every single matter, unless one is fortunate to have sufficient time for such things.
What the internet has done is show us how much we have in common (and yes, I am aware that this is a cliché). I suspect that if the main contributors of AATW were to be gathered for a prayer meeting, we would actually be able to pray in real unity about a number of matters, even if we had to leave certain sensitive things aside. At the same time, we would also be able to speak in candour (and hopefully politeness) about matters where we have different perspectives, be they political, economic, social, or religious. That is a precious thing in this age of fury and division.