Work in Progress

Baseball, Seminary, Wrestling, and the Dreams and Days of one Mike Work's Angeles experience

Thursday, December 15, 2005

David Bosch's Learning Tree

from 'A Spirituality of the Road.'
i love this stuff...

"I confess that the word 'spirituality' has always caused me a degree of uneasiness. Perhaps this has to do with the idea I, and apparently others as well, have always had about what spirituality seems to mean. By and large, I would guess, most people identify it almost exclusively with what is also known as our 'devotional life.'..

I am increasingly experiencing difficulties with this view of spirituality. Spirituality or devotional life seems to mean withdrawal from the world, charging my battery, and then going out into the world. The image is of an automobile which runs on batteries only. The batteries are charged for so many hours during the night and then the automobile runs so many miles during the day until the batteries become too weak to pull the car. For more mileage oone would have to charge the batteries for a longer period of time. Transferred to the spiritual sphere, this means: so many minutes of spiritual exercise will give me so much mileage for the day that follows. And if I find that I am run down before morning, this simply means that I have to spend more time in the morning charging my spiritual battery.

In this view, then, my 'true' Christian life consists of those so-called spiritual moments, away from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life. To be sure, all that hubbub is actually anti-spiritual, because it taps my stored-up spiritual resoruces, it drains my spiritual power away, it is a threat to my spirituality. I would, therefore, rather live on angels food only and have as little as possible to do with the things of this world...

The basic problem with this view of spirituality is that it is docetic. It is based on the idea that matter is essentially evil...I believe, however, that spirituality has to be redefined along different lines...

Fundamental to any definition of spirituality is that it can never be something that can be isolated from the rest of our lives, as the battery-operated car model suggests. 'Flesh' and 'spirit' in the Bible do not refer to two segments of our lives, the one outward and worldly, the other inward and otherworldly, as though we are spiritual when we pray and worldly when we work. No, flesh and spirit refer to two modes of existence, two life orientations. Being spiritual means being in Christ, whether we pray or walk or work. Spirituality is not contemplation over against action. It is not a flight from the world over against involvement in the world...

The involvement in this world should lead to a deepening of our relationship with and dependence upon God, and the deepening of this relationship should lead to increasing involvement in the world. Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta are a shining example of this. Touching the poorest of the poor, she says, means touching the body of Christ. Pouring our our love on people in selfless dedication is a form of prayer. We do not stop doing the one thing before we begin with the other."

more later...

3 Comments:

  • At 8:54 AM, Anonymous kevin said…

    Work,
    I agree with your post and need to take the docetism out of our western view of spirituality. I have been nothing other than impressed to realize that my entire life and day goes better when I look to everything as spiritual. I do however take it for granted (maybe we should be so spiritual that we do take it for granted) because often I don't notice the dichotomy between my Bible reading and prayers and my working with somebody.
    To be sure I really like the Bible reading and notice a stark improvement on my day, but that is not because I "recharged" but rather just harnessed my spirituality and was propelled forward by it. Most importantly, my day does not usually deplete my spiritual stockpile, but recycles it in different ways.

    Thanks for the post. You have great thoughts.

     
  • At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Michael, I'm sorry this has nothing to do with this post, but I'd like to request that you take my last name off the sidebar. I prefer to be known as "Rachel" only online. cheers!
    oh, and ps: you should go out with lori ann.

     
  • At 2:17 AM, Blogger Rachel Finkenbinder said…

    Hi Mike. I found your blog when I typed my name into yahoos search engine. It was number 4 about. LOL. Well I really like what you say here. I used David Bosch's analogy of the branch and vine to in Doug McConnel's thinking missioligically class. It is so true that we are merely conduits of Christ's grace to other people. And by living in Him throughout the day we are showing our devotion. I feel more enriched after doing such things as walking a lady home late at night when the bus won't come for an hour (that I usually wait for anyways), then after spending an hour in prayer. It is so rewarding to be a blessing to people. I have found that I can open up on the bus to the drivers especially and hopefully they get a fresh wipf of Christ. I am really shy about talking to people but I find it refreshing when I finally do. I used to feel pressure when I sat next to someone on the bus-- "i need to talk to this person. They need to know Jesus..." But now I don't feel pressure to talk about Jesus. I just talk. And the cool thing is I see people more often and they find out about me, and learn about God. And people are so open. It is exciting to know that I can offer a breath of air to people with out shoving the gospel down their throat so to speak. Well I don't know if youll get this comment since this is such an old blog, but Im sure Ill see you around. I'm shy but I'd like to be your friend :)

     

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