Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Sabbath



 Our spirits become more unified when our relationship with God is the center and focus of our lives and all other aspects find their proper priorities in the worship of the Lord. Our bodies are more sound when we enjoy a rhythm of fasting and feasting, when we truly rest by giving up the burden of possessions, when we have time for naps. Our souls are more complete when we can get in touch with our deepest emotions, our true sexuality, our creativity, and our sense of delight and play. Our minds become more robust when the narratives of our heritage as God’s people remind us of our redemption and when, as a result, our attitudes are made more wholesome and our freedom leads to the generating of new ideas. Furthermore, the interworking of all these aspects of our beings finds a new unity in Sabbath keeping because we no longer dichotomize between mind and matter, our bodies and our spirits or souls, our left and right brains. Rather, all becomes sacred and wholly integrated in our distinction from the world. We have even seen that there ceases to be any dichotomy between solitude and communal togetherness, because each is necessary for the other, and each contributes to the fullness of our being in relationship with God. As we become more intentional both about being a gathered Christian community and about enjoying our special times of solitude with God, the two work together to create a greater sense of both individual and corporate wholeness.
                                                              -Marva Dawn, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Partner

When God said, “It is not good that man should be alone,” he intended, by giving him a partner quite different from himself, to force him to face up to a difficult process of mutual adaptation. He intended him to go beyond himself instead of avoiding the conflict by surrendering to his wife or by enslaving his wife. In other words, he needs to grow up.

                                                                             -Paul Tournier, The Seasons of Life

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Spiritual Dementia



Only some will develop dementia of the mind.

We all have the propensity to develop dementia of the spirit.



In the clinic I frequently see elderly patients who are at various stages of dementia. On the surface, they can appear with it and carry on a basic conversation. But when I dig just a bit, it's evident they have a degenerative process of the mind. One of the hallmarks of dementia is short term memory loss. When asked, patients suffering from dementia don't know where they are, the date, or the year. They won't be sure where they live or who they live with. They may not know what medicines they are on, or when they last saw a loved one. In advanced stages, dementia patients are prone to wander and go missing. Dementia is a troubling disease for the patient, and a heart wrenching condition for the family caring for their loved one. Family members will try in vain to get their loved ones to remember certain persons, places and events. Such attempts typically end in exasperation for the patient and frustration for the family member.

Unlike Alzheimer's or the other brain disorders, we are all prone to spiritual dementia. We have the propensity to develop short term memory loss, but it's a different type of loss. We forget who we are, whose we are, how we should think, be and act. We forget our purpose in life, and what we should live for. We forget how to be kind, patient and forgiving. We forget what it means to love our neighbor, often the person closest to us. We're prone to wander from the ones we love. Such memory loss leads to broken hearts, relationships and families.

There is no effective treatment for physical dementia. Thankfully there is one for spiritual dementia: communion.

Communion with one another in worship. Communion with our maker. In our spiritual dementia, we are prone to look inward. Communion prompts us to look up. Look up to the One who sustains us, loves us, and gave himself for us. Gratitude issues forth. In the act of worship, in the partaking of communion we are reminded of who we are, whose we are, how we should think, be and act. Our spirit is revived. The degenerative process of our spirit is reversed.

Like physical dementia, spiritual dementia is progressive. The longer we stay away from communing with one another in worship of our creator, the more demented we become. Like our elderly demented, we become almost unrecognizable, an empty shell.

To heal spiritual dementia or to prevent it from developing, seek out a place where communion is celebrated. Bend a knee. Lean into the spoken word and turn the eyes of your heart upward. In humility receive the gift of giving thanks.

"Do this in remembrance of me."




Monday, May 14, 2018

Isolated Study


In order to study man, we stopped the course of his life history in order to pinpoint it at a given moment. We likewise set aside his social and physical environment. What is more, we even isolated each of his organs and each of their functions. It must be admitted that the gains of this analytical method were phenomenal. Nevertheless, what was gained in precision was lost in terms of an over-all view, of an understanding of the human person himself.

                                                                             -Paul Tournier, The Seasons of Life

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Searching


One can search the brain with a microscope and not find the mind, and can search the stars with a telescope and not find God. 

                                        -J. Gustav White