Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is it well with my soul?

As the church program year winds down and makes way for Summer, time and permission are given to all of us for a bit of reflection. Since this Fall will mark two years of my tenure as Priest-in-Charge of St. Edward's, and since we're in the midst of both a diocesan and parish strategic planning process, there have been reasons stacked upon reasons for such reflection. While I've begun the parish part of that reflection on the parish blog, it seems like at least some account (on this blog) of my personal reflections is warranted.

In my daily Facebook trolling, I came across this list of 10 Ways to Boost Spiritual Health. I recognize a number of spiritual disciplines--personal worship, journaling, prayer, personal (rather than simply professional) bible study--that I recall doing with much more faithfulness when I was in college and had newly discovered a more personal relationship with God in Christ. Like getting enough exercise and eating right, sometimes living life accidentally or on spiritual inertia can sneak up on a person. A good reminder.

As I read that "fitness list," I recalled another bit of wisdom shared by Brian McLaren, author of "Naked Spirituality" in his address at the 187th Commencement of Virginia Theological Seminary (my alma mater). He strongly encouraged the graduates (and, by extension, we alumni and friends) to guard and grow four friendships: with ourselves, with soul friends, with non-Christians, and with God. As McLaren said "it is sometimes difficult for those of us who are paid to be good to simply be good for nothing." Sometimes being a "professional Christian" gets in the way of simply being an intentional follower of Jesus Christ.

As I move through this summer of discernment, a big piece of my discernment is to look at where I have allowed my professional life to take over my personal life--in my relationship with my family and friends but also in crowding out hobbies and other things I do just because I like doing them. A good discipline for anyone, I'd say.

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