I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a spiritual person. It all began when I posted reflections a few months ago on What is a Spiritual Practice? and Reimagining our Spiritual Practices
The responses to these posts made me realize how little of my life and of the lives of many others who call themselves Christians really revolve around our faith. Most people don’t primarily encounter God in church or when reading the bible. They encounter God in the daily activities and encounters of life and in nature.
Most people I talk to encounter God much more powerfully when they are walking through the forest or when they are sitting at their work desk struggling with a problem than they do when reading the Bible. Parents see God reflected in the faces of their children, and aid workers see God reflected in the pain and the suffering of the destitute and the homeless. Prayer is more likely to be a few words of blessing or a spontaneous word of appeal to God for the conditions that tear our heart apart than it is to be a half our spent in intercession each week.
What we are not good at is helping followers of Christ to interpret these encounters in the light of the gospel story and the Bible message. Neither are we good at enabling others to recognize these events as an important part of their faith walk that need to be both encouraged and nurtured.
When we only view spiritual practices as prayer and Bible study we really do divorce ourselves from the many encounters with God that occur throughout the day and we make it very difficult for those around us to fully enter into the gospel story as it is reflected in their daily lives. We talk about the life, death and resurrection of Christ but the only place that we enable others to encounter that reality is when they go to church or read the bible. Which reminded me of a comment someone made to me years ago that I have never forgotten –
Don’t you think that pastors and church leaders are preparing us to live in the world they inhabit not the world that most of us live in?
I think that this statement has a lot of truth to it and the ways that we practice our faith and teach others to practice faith really reflects it. I wonder are we blind to the spirituality of the world around us because we live in a world of sermon preparation and book writing in which life seems to revolve around scripture, prayer and the reading of books?
So this post is an invitation. Over the summer I intend to do several posts on “What is a spiritual practice?” and would like to invite you to participate either by posting a guest post on my blog here or by posting on your own blog where I can link to your article.
We all need to learn more of what it means to be spiritual people and how to practice our faith 24/7 in ways that connect to the world we live in and the cultures that we are a part of. So this is an invitation to join a summer learning party and join us in deepening your faith and in sharing ideas that can help others deepen their faith. If you are interested please comment on this post.