Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Work of Spirituality

Here is a quote from Eugene Peterson's "The Contemplative Pastor" that resonated with me:

The work of spirituality is to recognize where we are - the particular circumstances of our lives - to recognize grace and say, "Do you suppose God wants to be with me in a way that does not involve changing my spouse or getting rid of my spouse or my kids, but in changing me, and doing something in my life that maybe I could never experience without this pain and suffering?"

One of the biggest fixations in our culture is that we expect others to live up to our expectations! It is a kind of "cultural perfectionism." We are profoundly disappointed when families, teachers, or churches do not love us perfectly or take care of our needs completely. Christian spirituality, however, leads us on a journey of discovering that only God loves with unconditional love. When we experience profound loneliness because we expect from each other what we can not give to one another, this pain draws us back to Christ. God is doing something in us in the darkness this suffering, for it is our own hearts that need changing.