Monday, August 13, 2007

Messy Spirituality

Interesting. I got this in my email last night. It isn't interesting that I got the breakfast club, because I always do. It is interesting how much this spoke to me this morning considering where I am. If this guy doesn't have it all together, and he's written a book, maybe I have hope yet.

I hope this doesn't mess with copyright stuff. I don't think it will since they send it free to anyone who asks. And, by the way, if you want to sign up to get the free chapters from Zondervan, I left the info on the bottom.

by Michael Yaconelli (nonfiction)

Published by Zondervan
ISBN: 9780310277309
Copyright (c) 2002, 2007 by Michael Yaconelli ======================================


My life is a mess.

After forty-five years of trying to follow Jesus, I keep losing him in the crowded busyness of my life. I know Jesus is there, some- where, but it's difficult to make him out in the haze of everyday life.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a godly person.
Yet when I look at the yesterdays of my life, what I see, mostly, is a broken, irregular path littered with mistakes and failure. I have had temporary successes and isolated moments of closeness to God, but I long for the continuing presence of Jesus. Most of the moments of my life seem hopelessly tangled in a web of obligations and distractions.

I want to be a good person. I don't want to fail. I want to learn from my mistakes, rid myself of distractions, and run into the arms of Jesus. Most of the time, however, I feel like I am running away from Jesus into the arms of my own clutteredness.

I want desperately to know God better. I want to be consistent.
Right now the only consistency in my life is my inconsistency. Who I want to be and who I am are not very close together. I am not doing well at the living-a-consistent-life thing.

I don't want to be St. John of the Cross or Billy Graham. I just want to be remembered as a person who loved God, who served others more than he served himself, who was trying to grow in maturity and stability. I want to have more victories than defeats, yet here I am, almost sixty, and I fail on a regular basis.

If I were to die today, I would be nervous about what people would say at my funeral. I would be happy if they said things like "He was a nice guy" or "He was occasionally decent" or "Mike wasn't as bad as a lot of people." Unfortunately, eulogies are delivered by people who know the deceased. I know what the consensus would be: "Mike was a mess."

When I was younger, I believed my inconsistency was due to my youth.
I believed that age would teach me all I needed to know and that when I was older I would have learned the lessons of life and discovered the secrets of true spirituality.

I "am" older, a lot older, and the secrets are still secret from me.

I often dream that I am tagging along behind Jesus, longing for him to choose me as one of his disciples. Without warning, he turns around, looks straight into my eyes, and says, "Follow me!" My heart races, and I begin to run toward him when he interrupts with, "Oh, not you; the guy behind you. Sorry."

I have been trying to follow Christ most of my life, and the best I can do is a stumbling, bumbling, clumsy kind of following. I wake up most days with the humiliating awareness that I have no clue where Jesus is. Even though I am a minister, even though I think about Jesus every day, my following is...uh...meandering.

So I've decided to write a book about the spiritual life.

I know what you're thinking. Based on what I've just said about my walk with God, having me write about spirituality is like having Bozo the Clown explain the meaning of the universe, like playing Handel's "Messiah" on the kazoo. How can someone whose life is obviously "unspiritual" presume to talk about spirituality? How can someone unholy presume to talk about holiness? It makes no sense.

Unless. Un"less!" Unless spirituality, as most of us understand it, is not spirituality at all.

Sadly, "spiritual" is most commonly used by Christians to describe people who pray all day long, read their Bibles constantly, never get angry or rattled, possess special powers, and have the inside track to God. "Spirituality," for most, has an "other"worldly ring to it, calling to mind eccentric "saints" who have forsaken the world, taken vows of poverty, and isolated themselves in cloisters.

Nothing wrong with the spirituality of monks. Monks certainly experience a "kind" of spirituality, a way of seeking and knowing God, "but what about the rest of us?" What about those of us who live in the city, have a wife or husband, three children, two cats, and a washing machine that has stopped working? What about those of us who are single, work sixty to seventy hours a week, have parents who wonder why we're not married, and have friends who make much more money than we do? What about those of us who are divorced, still trying to heal from the scars of rejection, trying to cope with the single-parenting of children who don't understand why this has happened to them?

Is there a spirituality for the rest of us who are not secluded in a monastery, who don't have it all together and probably never will?

(continued on Tuesday)


Would you please tell a friend about our Breakfast Club?
Sign up at:
I sure do appreciate it.--Suzanne Beecher

For more information about MESSY SPIRITUALITY go to:
Distributed by: Zondervan, 5300 Patterson SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49530

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just finished this book last night and it is worth reading. I couldn't put it down! Many will be offended; more will be changed.