This chapter is basically comparing Eastern and Western religions, though I think those terms aren't ever actually used.  And they argue against those Christians that would like to introduce Eastern practices into Christian.

"Contemplation, silence and solitude."  It certainly describes a good deal of what passes for spirituality among evangelicals today.  Or worse than that, it constitutes a kind of advanced spirituality for the elite.  We teach new Christians to pray and read their bibles, but mature spirituality, it is said, takes us into new realms - the realms of "contemplation, silence and solitude."

But what struck me as I pondered those words is that the describe the exact opposite of biblical spirituality.  Biblical spirituality is not about contemplation; it is about reading and meditating on the word of God.  It is not about detached silence; it is about passionate petition.  It is not about solitude; it is about participation in community.

I think part of the problem might simply be definitions, as the author has to acknowledge that Jesus went off on his own early in the morning for what I would think could accurately be described as "contemplation, silence and solitude".  Being community-centered people, the authors and myself are probably more wary than we should be of this sort of thing.

This community spirituality clearly requires a certain level of relationship.  We need to be sharing our lives.  We need to be with other Christians "daily."  We need friendships that are real, open and intimate.  We need to give one another license to dig into our lives and challenge our hearts.  We need leaders who foster this culture by giving and receiving this daily exhortation, who lead not only from their pulpits but with their lives.  The word of God needs not only to be central to church life, but thoroughly to pervade every aspect of it.

 

Posted by Jon Daley on April 9, 2010, 10:25 am | Read 2251 times
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