...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sign-Driven Spirituality is a Trap (1)

Over time, the addict is forced to "up the ante" when the fix does not work. You need more and more of anything that does not work. If something is really working for you , then less and less will satisfy you. On my good days, a grasshopper can convert me.

Richard Rohr,
Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps

Living by hype puts a soul at risk. That's probably one of the reasons Jesus seemed impatient with sign-driven faith. The religion of the next fix burns itself out, not unlike the seed in rocky soil. See the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8.

The good thing about signs and wonders is that they attract big crowds and make mega churches. Increasing crowds is measurable, a gold standard of success, fruitfulness, and effectiveness for church leaders and pastors.

It also makes for idolatry. And Jesus thought very differently about the crowds attracted to him, many who were there only to catch the latest magic show. Before he ever started preaching, Jesus squared off with the satanic source of the temptation to reduce his mission and ministry to a circus. Once Jesus' ministry is rolling along, the temptation is ever-present. Luke 11:29 ff. and Matthew 12:38 ff.

Isn't this really about our penchant for making everything in the universe about ourselves? Living in the uproar, we can reinforce the worst in us. We try to decipher what is really life-giving from an exploding Twitter following, and how the noise we create can make our lives more, not less, free. 

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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