Coming to Terms (part 2)

BY Doug Jones

July 5, 2012

Last week we looked at the quote from Ronald Rolheiser, in his book The Restless Heart.  There he writes, “Spirituality is about what we do with our unrest…about what we do with that incurable desire, the madness…within us.”  I wanted to weigh in with some of my thoughts about this take on an often misunderstood term.

1.  Rolheiser makes spirituality a term that defies the dualism that often is associated with the term (think heaven and earth or spirit and body) by tying the term to our drives that move us to action, addiction and/or religion (to name a few things that our spirituality attempts to find relief).

2.  The definition opens up our understanding of spirituality that is beyond merely the drive that leads us to beginning a relationship with God.  While it encompasses that, it exceeds that staying unsatisfied within us drawing us to continue pursuing after God and his priorities, leading us toward maturity.

3.  This understanding helps us see the many substitutes people fill their lives with to meet this unrest and madness are genuinely issues of spirituality (addictions, relational disappointments, false religions).

4.   Once our spirituality has led us to the mercy of Jesus; this definition indicates we can begin to trust and listen to our desire, our unrest, our deep down longings as prompts or clues for where our growth points might be in our life with God, God’s people and our relationship with all that has been made.

5.  Psalm 103 seems to line up well with Rolheiser’s definition, as well.

Is this a new way for you to consider Spirituality?  Is this too simplistic?  Do you feel it is helpful?  Where do you see desire and unrest fitting in to your own Christian Maturity?

Weigh-in below in the comments.


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2 comments on “Coming to Terms (part 2)

  1. Too often, our “spirituality” is divorced from our normal life. That’s sad.

    Working a long day at a mundane job is very spiritual.

    Driving to the grocery store for eggs is very spiritual.

    Sneezing, Coughing, breathing, walking, disciplining your dog, mowing the grass, eating… it is all spiritual. Spirituality is not some mystical thing we can’t see because it’s somehow “beneath this sphere of existence”. It’s all around this sphere of existence and all through it.

    Thanks for those thoughts.

  2. Hey Peter thank you for “chiming in” – I think you are on to it; being able to see how the mundane, the ordinary, the stressful, the painful, as well as, the joyful, and celebrations of life mold and shape our spirituality is crucial. I think that is what the spiritual practices are attempting to help us do – as we practice them, it tunes us in – we can become more aware of the God’s presence and provision in the midst of the everyday.

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