I’m completely taken by the book I’m reading at the moment. My spiritual director lent it to me: Finding Sanctuary by Abbot Christoper Jamison.
There is much wisdom in this book, whether you consider yourself a religious person or not. The latest bit which has caught my eye is Jamison’s exploration of modern spirituality. He says that in new testament times “spirituality” was all about community expressed in “acts of love and generosity” where as now:
“…in the modern view, true spirituality is psychological well being combined with the moral golden rule. Doctrine, ritual and community life are optional extras”
If you do not subscribe to a particular religion, that would seem fair enough, but when i take a look at my own life as a Christan, I can see how this world view has seeped in. How my own psychological well being has supplanted acts of love and generosity.
Now that’s not to say i think psychological well being is of no value. Of course it is. But surely a Christian view would say that this is to be found when person does what Jesus says and seeks greatness though service.
We have become so self centred, our lives becoming smaller and smaller as we continue to look inward. Surely the wisdom of what Jamison would call “classical religion” is of great value:
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
Romans 12:9-13 (New Living Translation)