Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spiritual Rhythms of Life for Today

The radical life is often described as total abandonment to God. This translates into the notion that God does not want us to use our minds, hearts, imaginations, and wills, but instead to close everything down, withdraw, and let go. Get out of the way and take no responsibilities are assumed to be truly and ultimately spiritual. It goes something like this: the more we attempt to be zeroes, the more spiritual we are; we either adopt being zeroes or we’re not spiritual. Denial and rejection of ourselves, it is often said, will illuminate the path toward Christian spirituality. The aim is to banish tension from the Christian life and find harmony with God. In other words, tension is unspiritual and resolution is spiritual. To put it mildly, this is an impoverished notion of Christian spirituality. Many Christians fall prey to the assumption that attempting to be a zero is a more holy or spiritual direction for the Christian life. For some reason, this point of view sounds extremely attractive, even spiritual.

The major problem with this either/or orientation is its presentation of an idealism that, in the end, leads us to an unspiritual resolution. The tyranny of false options, as expressed in an either/or configuration of this kind, is devastating. Living spirituality is simply not like that. In spite of brokenness, God redeems and sanctifies us. He wants us to use our minds, hearts, imaginations, and wills in a creative and sanctified manner that sufficiently affirms and demonstrates that God is there, that we are God’s children, and that this is God’s world.

And that’s the radical life.