Posts Tagged ‘spiritual growth

29
Mar
11

Spiritual Journeys Are NOT Destinations

So, my wife is struggling with her spirituality these days, trying to reconcile how she feels and how she views the world with an upbringing that was fairly fundamentalist in terms of Christian doctrine, even if she herself has always been pretty progressive/liberal in terms of social issues and politics.

This won’t come as any surprise to anyone who follows both she and I on Twitter (and several of you do; for those who don’t, she’s @blackgirlinmain on Twitter and she also has a blog…follow her in both places and I think you’ll be glad you did). She’s been talking quite openly about her spiritual struggles. I’m proud of her for her journey and her explorations and finding the proper path for her.

Because being on a spiritual walk is like any other walk. There isn’t a clear destination. Sure, you may be going somewhere, but even once you get there, the place you’ve reached might not be the perfect place to be. And even if you do like that place, there’s always a need to walk someplace else at some other time, for other needs.

Journeying is exploration, and any person truly seeking spiritual growth will find many different twists and turns; they should never be satisfied that they know it all and have found it all. That would be self-delusion and ignorance.

Thing is that I’ve been on a spiritual journey myself and still am. I came to Christ after years of being a lapsed and “recovering” Catholic, and that was through the woman who would become my wife, and the church she attended, which was presided over by her dad. That being said, while I was never a fundamentalist in any true sense of the word, I did have some beliefs that were more fundamentalist than what I have now.

As I look at some of the earliest posts on this blog, I can see where I have changed and grown. I haven’t changed my path drastically, but there have been adjustments as I grown closer to my soul and to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. I’m sure more changes are to come.

I might post on this a bit more later this week, but that should do for now.

04
Sep
10

The Spiritual Path: Lonely and Communal

You know, maybe if I go away officially for a week or so and tell Miz Pink that she can make my top banner pink and take over for a while, I wouldn’t feel so guilty. Seems like I need to bribe her with a power trip to get her to fill in the gaps around here….LOL

But I do have stuff to say, I admit, just not as much time as I’d like to say it.

This blog began as a place where I could wax somewhat foul-mouthedly about various things (sex, politics, etc.) while bringing in some biblical and spiritual angles, as well as to actually explore specific religious and spiritual issues.

It’s become more of a random rant, and I sometimes cover those “original” topics as well (though the sex stuff less so…guess I don’t have a sex advice column in my future). But spiritual matters, while I haven’t discussed them in depth much lately…and while I don’t hit the Bible all that terribly often these days…are still very important to me.

God is still important to me. Jesus is still important to me. My relationship to and acceptance of the Holy Spirit is important to me. Reading the Bible is less important, but still not unimportant.

The thing is, I’ve found that I’m much more passionate about exploring my place in God’s plans and His place in the larger universe. Contemplation and even speculation are serving me better these days in finding my spiritual path and trying to align myself better with God.

It is a lonely portion of the spiritual path, because it doesn’t lend itself as much to sharing, or community. Some of my thoughts and considerations go in strange places. Places that I don’t want to share, or don’t feel I can give justice.

I find myself contemplating other religions more; not in the sense of practicing them but in trying to tie the disparate spiritual world together and figure out how God fits into most things quite nicely, even if He doesn’t always take the Judeo-Christo-Muslim kind of face that is so prevalent.

I remain unmoved by Hawking or anyone else who feels they can explain away God and remove Him. They cannot unprove God any more than I can prove him. I would rather that such folks stick to the science and stop trying to bring God into it. In turn, I would like for religious folks to stop trying to reinterpret science (evolution, etc.) in biblical terms.

In the end, it wouldn’t matter if God came first or the universe did. Science and religion can coexist. Different religions can coexist, even in the context of eternal salvation vs. eternal separation. Christianity remains my core, but finding what it means to me and how to employ my faith better is still a journey.

At times, it’s been a journey with many companions, but lately, it’s just been a solo stroll most days. I hope top invite you on a walk with me soon, though, and we’ll see what I might be able to share with you.

Even if many of you won’t agree with me. 😉

14
Dec
09

Fire and Pain

Now how’s that for a provocative headline, eh? Probably going to talk about hell and damnation today, right?

Nah…

I don’t know how many of you are into metallurgy, but when you’re putting ores and additives through the process of making some metal or alloy of metals, as I understand it, you end up with something called dross. It’s kind of like the scum you get on top of the soup you’re cooking, except with metal, it’s a lot more important to scoop that crap off unless you want buildings falling down and cars falling apart.

So to refine metal, to get out its impurities, it has to go through the fire.

Nothing new there. Nor is it new to apply that philosophy to life. The bible talks about putting people through the metaphorical fire to make them into something stronger. It’s a philosophy that also exists outside religion: “No pain, no gain” and “You have to pay your dues” are just two examples.

Generations X and Y have been accused of laziness and complacency at times. It’s true and it isn’t. (I’m an X, by the way…nice to meet you). It’s said that we rely too much on our parents and that we aren’t willing to work responsibly or work hard.

The truth is more that the world changed, and X and Y got faced with entirely new economic dynamics and new rules that don’t always respond to the solutions that suited Baby Boomers and their immediate predecessors.

But in there is also some truth in the criticism, and I see it more the older I get. Members of Generations X and Y can be a bit quick to want recognition and reward, before they’ve proven themselves. They can be fabulously self-centered in ways that are distinct from the often self-absorbed and sometimes self-important Baby Boomers.

But one thing about the Baby Boomers is that they were able in many cases to achieve and build nest eggs and help their progeny get going in life. They may have been less religious and less dogmatic than their parents, but they still often saw value in religion and in seeking God.

I wonder, though, if the increasing way that people are distancing themselves from God, especially in the younger generations, has more to do with the way the world is going and the way we X’s and Y’s see the world. And perhaps less about reason and science making religion irrelevant.

You see, too often, we young-ish folks (if I can still call myself that at 41) want results with minimal work. We want answers and solutions now. We don’t want to wait on God. And so when God doesn’t respond to us immediately, and we look back at history and say, “why does he let this crap happen” we decide that He must not exist. Because if He won’t just give us what we want now, how could He?

Too many of us don’t value the notion that we are works in progress. That our time on this planet is less about getting what we want and more about learning lessons. It’s a lesson that even atheists should take to heart more often. Because particularly for those who don’t believe there is anything beyond this life, there is precious little time to grow up and make something useful out of oneself.

For those who are agnostic, or those who, like me, are in a faith walk with God, it’s time for us to realize that we are put through a fire. We are meant to feel pain. It’s terrible when some people have to live with almost nothing but pain and stress and misery, but we humans aren’t alone in that. We like to think we are, but we’re not.

Whether you want to credit evolution (genetic and social both) or God’s will…or a combination of the two…a pristine, trouble-free world isn’t the kind of world that will push us to become something stronger or smarter or more useful to ourselves and others.

Pain is necessary. Whether we like it or not, we must all pass through the fire, some of us more often than others.

We need to pay our dues. We need to see the value in that and make something good out of it in the end. Or at least as good as we can.

If we don’t, we remain children. We don’t grow. Not in this world, and not in God’s plan.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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