Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Eugene Peterson: Spirituality and Commitment

Shun spirituality that does not require commitment. Personal commitment to the God personally revealed in Jesus is at the heart of spirituality. Faddish spiritualities, within and without the church, ignore or deny commitment. Evangelical counsel places the Lord's commands - believe, follow, endure - at the core of all spirituality. A lifelong faith commitment to God as revealed in Jesus Christ is essential to any true spirituality.

"Ecstasy doesn't last," wrote novelist E.M. Forster, "but it cuts a channel for something lasting." Single-minded, persevering faithfulness confirms the authenticity of our spirituality. The ancestors we look to for encouragement in this business - Augustine of Hippo and Julian of Norwich, John Calvin and Amy Carmichael, John Bunyan and Teresa of Avila - didn't fit. They stayed.

Spirituality without commitment is analogous to sexuality without commitment - quick and casual, superficial and impersonal, selfish and loveless - eventually a parody of its initial promise. Deprived of commitment, sexuality degenerates into addiction, violence, or boredom. Deprived of commitment, spirituality, no matter how wise or promising, has a short shelf life.

– Eugene B. Peterson, Subversive Spirituality

No comments: