Chris Haw explores his journey from evangelicalism back to Catholicism
November 24, 2012
By Manya A. Brachear
As the queen mother of megachurches, Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington has become a refuge for spiritual seekers and people of faith who no longer feel inspired by the religious institutions that raised them. After the sex abuse scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Church, droves of Catholics found their way to the undecorated sanctuary and fresh air of Willow Creek. Author Chris Haw probably passed them going the opposite direction.
In his spiritual memoir "From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart: Rekindling My Love for Catholicism," Haw, 31, explains how he discovered just as much ritual in the Protestant evangelical world as he did in the liturgy of century-old cathedrals. Though many evangelical Christians are convinced that nothing stands between them and Jesus, Haw believes they are wrong.
Regardless of people's preferred brand of Christianity, there is always a mediator between them and God, he says.
"Others are continuing to say, 'I want my Jesus straight,' whereas all these other people want it with all these complicated rituals," Haw said. "Evangelical worship is still a ritual. It still has history and a form and an expected mode of engagement. Even though we're praying spontaneously, it's still socially conditioned."