Worship at the Doors of Perception

by S. M. Hutchens

Psychedelic churches offer a chemical enhancement and intensification of what nearly every church tries to effect on its worshipers in the first place: a “worship experience” in which the psyche is stripped of its normal and rational inhibitions and sense of the Real to achieve the satisfaction of unaccustomed exaltation. (Thus it must continually be advanced and improved upon, constantly added to and changed, for excitements wear off in time.) I see no reason why the majority of professing Christians should have any objections whatever to this, or claim that the drugged churches are any different in kind from what they are seeking in their own—it is the logical end of all “heart (i.e., splanchnic) religion,” of all enthusiasm. Here lies the reason for the utter failure of “liturgical renewal,” whether among Evangelicals or Catholics, whether high or crude—the poisoned Kool-Aid drunk automatically and with such gusto that it is presumed innocent unless proven guilty among those already predisposed to like its taste. The proof of its god is in the thrill.

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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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