Illusion of Spiritual Growth

WE seem to be under the illusion that attending some church service for at most two hours is totally sufficient to nurture, the spiritual aspects of our lives.  We separate our daily live from our church life. What are and what should we be doing with the other 166 hrs. left in our week.

What in you estimation is the purpose of attending a Church?  Most of us would comment that they have a lot of family activities to participate in. Other would say something spiritual like to KNOW God better, but have no idea how to accomplish that herculean task.  Most of us know what we should do but few of us do.

Recently while talking with a friend, he expressed his frustration that many of the people (including himself). separate church from daily life. There is no perfect church, churches are made up of broken and flawed people. All of us or nearly all  of us struggle with being deeply enmeshed in modernity, and this compromises the way we order our own lives.

Of all the personal and self-development programs that are on the market today, one towers above all others! Striving to daily live up to the expectation of of the gospel is at the least frustrating. Christianity itself offer a means to “live to our fullest potential.”  However that potential is not one we design for ourselves, it is slow acquired by daily sacrificing ego and self.

Nothing is more needful today than the survival of the Christian culture, because in recent generations this culture has become dangerously thin. At this moment in the Church’s history, in this country (and in the West more generally) it is less urgent to convince the alternative culture in which we live of the truth of Christ then it is for the Church to tell itself its own story and to nurture it own life, the culture of the city of God, the Christian Republic.

This is not going to happen without a rebirth of moral and spiritual discipline and a resolute effort on the part of Christians to comprehend and to defend the remnants of Christian culture. It is an unfortunate fact that the society in which we live is no longer neutral about Christianity. The United States would be a much less hospitable environment for the practice of the faith if all the marks of Christian culture were stripped from our public life and Christian behavior were tolerated only in restricted situations.

Dying to Self: Finding Our Soul

Most of us struggling to find “happiness.”  All over the planet many of us feel an urge to grow and find a personal and collective place of joy and peace. We each face huge challenges of becoming happier, we realize that there is no other form of growth than self-development, and this journey is one of self-discovery.

It is natural to seek answers to the questions “why” is this or that happening to me? But assuredly this leads to great frustration as we realize there is no real or satisfying answer.  We then move to a much more relevant question: “how do I become that person I want to be:, and without hesitation this dilemma encounters the greatest question of all: “Who am I?” A very few attempt to answer this question, it gnaws in their deepest and most remote part of their being and life, always a small thought in the back of our minds somewhere.  We think someday I will discover who I am some way.

Seldom do we ask ourselves or others, how do I lead a good life?  What is a good life? Who am I and what is the purpose for my being in this family, community, job, school or world?  In the Christian belief, we are to die to self and become more like Christ, possessing his attributes….we fail miserably each day.  Wrestling  with the idea of dying to self is a struggle, we always approach it with our mind therein lies the problem.

Getting to Know EGO:  One of the major obstacles we find in the journey of self-discovery, is the EGO. Unfortunately in our culture it is becoming harder and harder, because it is all about ME, my wants, my desire, my feelings etc. Other are more aware of our ego than we are…you know people with “over developed egos.”

We registered all of our impressions in the world as we grew up.  Our first society is our family, directed by our parents, and this is the first mirror and given source of concepts that we get subjected to. taking them on as our own, it gives us a sense of who we are. And of course there is the whole realm of ourselves that we do not yet know ( our unconscious self). The EGO becomes a character built up of multiple characters, concepts and the roles we play in society, in fact everything we have learned externally as good or bad. So the Ego, the subject of consciousness, as Jung defines it,is the complex of things that we have identified with, and by which we function. In other words we know about ourselves, or what we have chosen to know about ourselves are those characters  we play in all of our relationships.

Have you ever questioned where you beliefs came from? Are they truly yours or did  you accept them from, parents, friends, school, media, society.  Until you do remember:

You Are Not Who You Think You Are!

YOU ARE NOT WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE!

How does one come into the knowledge of who they really are and what talents they possess?  If you walk into any bookstore you will find self after shelf of books and tapes explaining how one can discover who they are and meant to be. Alas, many books and tapes are bought and little change takes place.

Perhaps we seldom to take the time to “reflect” or consider who we are!  At some point in your life if you are reflective you come to a crossroads. One with the realization that many of your thoughts and ideas really are not you own, but those of friends, parents, media images, people we look to and on and on. When we do we notice a certain hollowness in the pit of our stomach.  We realize that we are just following the “herd” the “tribe” or whatever you wish to call it.

What is the next step? COURAGE!   The courage to think you own thoughts and examine how you will meet each day!  As Emerson once put it.. a series of surfaces upon which we skate. One of my favorites poems is by Shel Silverstein from Where the Sidewalk Ends.      Invitation

If you area dreamer, come in.

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer,

If you are a pretender, come sit by my fire

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come In!

Come In!