I have been really challenged by many things in the last few weeks. What came top – and its not a new challenge to the way I work – was do I actually take enough time out. Burnout is an ever-growing concern placed on those within all forms of ministry in the 21st century, because most are not satisfied unless they are juggling 21 things! Furthermore I felt a great desire to re-do the Christian Spirituality module here for level four (first years), I did it last year, but I feel due to the fact that it is a credited module that I did not get out of it as much as I could of. So, this is my second chance at Christian Spirituality. Time out to learn something away from assessments, that I shall be documenting on the World Wide Web, and highly likely that as the course looks at some of the Spiritual disciplines, that I shall be attempting to use them in my life and practice them where possible.
Why is spirituality attractive in the 21st Century?
It could be suggested that many feel that there is something greater out there, that holding on to a spirituality can often make them feel included. Its placed out there by consumerism, it offers an escape, confidence, hope or a way of dealing with or ignoring the root of the problem. It can be safe, or it can be something more wild. A way of drowning out real life, or of having some control, or giving it over or being free. It’s a way of being.
When looking over a handout tonight we where asked to pick our favourite definition, and being me I decided to be awkward and use only half a quote. Spirituality is… ‘about living “the whole life at depth”’(1)
Looking specifically at spirituality as a Transforming experience in the bible
2 Cor 3: 18 says ‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’ It really struck me that the God we worship as Christian works within us he changes us, and this has an outward outworking, we shine his glory.
In Philippians 2: 13 ‘continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.’ This God works in us. Our spirituality is a daily act of recognition of this transformation both inwards and outwards.
What can God do?
My challenge for this week, (or homework for the rest of the class) is to take five minutes out (maybe stick in a worship song, or sit in silence, or go for a walk) and ‘allow God to make you aware that you are a living miracle.’ (2)
(1)Sheldrake. P., A Brief History of Christian Spirituality, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007) p.40
(2)Henderson, Gwen, Christian Spirituality lecture 17th Jan 2011, at Cliff College