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Illustration results for spirituality

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BUSYNESS
Busyness is no sign of spirituality or any kind of a full life. In fact, it’s more likely the sign of an empty life.

Tim Kreider, in an article he wrote for The New York Times called The Busy Trap put it this way: “If you live in America in the 21st century, you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: ‘Busy!’ ‘So busy.’ ‘Crazy busy.’ It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: ‘That’s a good problem to have,’ or ‘Better than the opposite.’”

Then Kreider goes on to say, “Busyness serves as a kind of ... hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day …. [We’re] busy because of [our] own ambition or drive or anxiety, because [we’re] addicted to busyness and dread what [we] might have to face in its absence."

(Tim Kreider, "The Busy Trap," The New York Times, 6-30-12. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Cure For Weariness, 8/17/2012)

 
Contributed By:
John Hamby
 
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Charles Swindoll in his book on Grace puts it this way, "You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here’s how - guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do’s and don’ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately . . . yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it - emotional and spiritual damage will occur." Charles Swindoll. The Grace Awakening. Dallas: Word Pub., 1990) p.97


For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org

 
Contributed By:
Dan Waite
 
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Once upon a time, a young minister tried to quit the ministry in absolute disgust. He was tired of the immaturity of the people and disillusioned by the politics and lack of spirituality of the leadership. He “reasoned” if the church, God’s ambassadors, was that badly corrupted then Christianity was a lie. His wife dragged him to church and he resented her for it. It was a very ugly time in his spiritual life. Tennyson suggests that “honest doubt is better than blind belief.” I wish I could say that this time was “honest doubt.” It was more like severe disappointment and raging anger.

But one sleepless night he felt the strong urge to “read it one more time” before he gave up completely. So he opened the Bible to Genesis 1:1 and started to read for what he thought would be the last time. He thought he could reason away the miracles. He thought he could dismiss the stories as myth. The one thing that he could not ignore was the prophecy. How could people like Isaiah know so much about the life of Jesus? It was not possible, unless the Bible was true (from beginning to end without exception)!

 
Contributed By:
Don Hawks
 
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One communion Sunday, the communion steward prepared communion with a twist. When it came time to uncover the elements the grape juice looked darker than usual. The pastor thought nothing of it and began to serve the communion. Promptly upon receiving the cup, each recipient’s face had a peculiar, stunned look. When it came time for the pastor to receive he discovered why the strange looks...the juice...

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Contributed By:
David Selleck
 
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Michael Yaconelli’s, "Messy Spirituality"
Vincent’s story about grace graciously given in the messiest of circumstances from Michael Yaconelli’s book Messy Spirituality.

In a book aby New Zealand author Mike Riddell, Vincent has met and fallen in love with a young girl named Marilyn. Neither one of them is seeking a relationship, but a relationship is seeking them. Swept up by their emotions, the two become deeply involved. Marilyn a prostitute, is not prepared to fall in love and is certainly not prepared for the honesty love requires. She must tell Vincent who she it, knowing full well that here painful disclosure will probably mean the end of their relationship.

“Vincent?”
“Mmmmm.”

“There’s ah .....There’s something we need to talk about.”

“Only if you want to. I’m happy just to sit here and look at you. Sorry, this looks like something serious.” Looks a lot like the intro to the Dear John speech, truth be told.”

“Its about me and what I do.”

“Yeah, wondered when you were going to pluck up the courage to talk about it. Don’t tell me, you work for the CIA, right?” Sorry. sorry, I’ll shut up.”

She is totally absorbed in the remains of her salad, scrutinizing it for something. Anything to avoid his eyes.

“There’s no easy way of saying this. I’m a prostitute. I sleep with men for my living. It’s a business. I’m very professional.

Time and silence have this thing they do together. The make a chasm that has no bottom to it. And there you are, standing right on the edge of it. Aware that at any moment you may be falling and falling , with no hope of recovery. At the moment they are at either side of it, each consumed by their private terror. She looks up at last from here salad. Vincent is crying. The tears are streaming down his cheeks, and he is biting his lip to stop himself sobbing. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to deceive you. I’m sorry, Vincent. I’m sorry.”

He can’t speak. He wants to, but nothing is working. He is looking at her, at her beautiful face, at her eyes, at the slight hardness around her mouth. And weeping and weeping. She reaches a hand across to hold his. She is beyond tears, empty and bleak and barren. Vincent is mumbling something but is incoherent through the pain. And then he begins to repeat it again and again.

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.....”

This is the worst thing she has ever heard in her life. She wants to scream, to break something, to tip over the table in rage. Instead some continental shelf rips loose within her. She begins gulping and moaning, a terrible agonizing cry from another place. And the tears are flowing. They grip each other’s hands, and lean their foreheads together. The tears are flowing into the abyss, and there is no end to them.

Marilyn expected Vincent to reject her, to pull away from her, to have nothing to do with her. In a strange and touching way Vincent did what Jesus would do; he looked beneath the expected criticism; what she received was understanding. Instead of hearing words of condemnation Marilyn heard over and over again , “I love you”.


 
Contributed By:
Jim Luthy
 
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Paul Stevens wrote, "In marriage, death and life interpenetrate, as crucifixion and resurrection are eternally joined. Married persons are literally buried into each other, physically, emotionally and spiritually, losing themselves but finding themselves in the other." (Marriage Spirituality, InterVarsity Press).

 
Contributed By:
Nathan Garcia
 
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I’m going to be quoting from the book Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli. “In a book by New Zealand author Mike Riddell, Vincent has met and fallen in love with a young girl named Marilyn. Neither one of them is seeking a relationship, but a relationship is seeking them. Swept up by their emotions, the two become deeply involved. Marilyn, a prostitute, is not prepared to fall in love and is certainly not prepared for the honesty love requires. She must tell Vincent who she is, knowing full well that her painful disclosure will probably mean the end of their relationship.
“Vincent?”
“Mmmmm”
“There’s ah…there’s something we need to talk about.”
“Only if you want to. I’m happy just to sit here and look at you. Sorry, this looks like something serious.” Looks a lot like the intro to the Dear John speech, truth be told.
It’s about me and what I do.”
Yeah, I wondered when you were going to pluck up the courage to talk about it. Don’t tell me, you work for the CIA, right? Sorry, sorry, I’ll shut up.”
She is totally absorbed in the remains of her salad, scrutinizing it for something. Anything to avoid his eyes.
“There’s no easy way of saying this. I’m a prostitute. I sleep with men for my living. It’s a business. I’m very professional.”
Time and silence have this thing they do together. They make a chasm that has no bottom to it. And there you are, standing right on the edge of it. Aware that at any moment you may be falling and falling and falling, with no hope of recovery. At the moment they are at either side of it, each consumed by their own private terror. She looks up at last from her salad. Vincent is crying. The tears are streaming down his cheeks, and he is biting his lip to stop himself from sobbing.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to deceive you. I’m sorry Vincent. I’m sorry.”
He can’t speak. He wants to, but nothing is working. He is looking at her, at her beautiful face, at her eyes, at the slight hardness around her mouth. And weeping and weeping. She reaches a hand across to hold his. She is beyond tears, empty and bleak and barren. Vincent is mumbling something, but is incoherent through the pain. And then he begins to repeat it again and again.
“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”
This is the worst thing she has ever heard in her life. She wants to scream, to break something, to tip over the table in rage. Instead some continental shelf rips loose within her. She begins gulping and moaning, a terrible agonizing cry from another place. And the tears are flowing. They grip each other’s hands, and lean their foreheads together. The tears are flowing into the abyss, and there is no end to them.

 
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In evangelical individualism people think of their personal relationship with God in isolation (“Just me and Jesus”) and forge their destiny apart from any church authority. While holding relatively low opinions of history, traditions, and the church, they turn to the experiences of self and isolate themselves from their brothers and sisters in the faith. True spirituality is perverted as it becomes a quest for inner stimulation rather than growth in biblical knowledge and the application of truth in community. ...

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Contributed By:
Timothy Darling
 
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The famous astronaut Buzz Aldrin faced a conflict after returning from the moon. He spiraled into a deep depression that ultimately resulted in him being hospitalized, medicated and put through a battery of psychiatric treatments. Ignorant of the depth of his own disability, once the medicine kicked in, he felt so much better that he immediately began making plans for a new start:
• He would divorce his wife and marry his lover
• First, he would spend Thanksgiving with his wife and children so everything could be like old times
• He would then take his wife to Acapulco for their 17th anniversary and break the news to her

Of course, his counselor was aghast and tried to talk him out of it. He was in far too fragile a state to make such life-changing decisions. He was also reaching for two very different senses of fulfillment. Aldrin admits that he did not see the contradiction in this plan. His medicine made him feel better, but his mind was still not reasoning clearly. He wanted so badly to have a new start that he was grasping at everything that seemed to hold out that hope
(SOURCE: Return to Earth by Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin).

That kind of contradiction is what the Colossians were facing. They were traveling a new spiritual road, rushing forward with power and speed. Along side that spirituality, in their town of great philosophical and religious industry, were a couple of other groups that wanted to lead them along their own paths. Paul, like Aldrin's counselor was working hard to help them see the incompatibility of these two other influences with the path they had chosen.

 
Contributed By:
Brad Bailey
 
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“How easy it is to define authentic spirituality according to my particular experience and expression of it. And when I do I end up with a very different god from the one revealed in Christ, a god whose transcendent objectivity has been pared down to the contours of my subjectivity, a god, consequently, too trivial to lift me out of my self and beyond the distortions of my flawed experience.” (D. McCullough P 37)

 
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