Impracticality

Follow these five fast steps to spiritual growth.

Living for Jesus is as easy as this acronym: I.N.H.I.M.

My growth plan is Jesus 1-2-3.

This stuff is the scourge of evangelicalism. It drives me batty.

Any time someone tells you that the spiritual life is easy, its a formula, or that they can guarantee ____, feel free to slap them in the face.

OK, that would be assault. Don’t do that. How about making a mental note to ignore their advice?

The truth we all know is that you can’t reduce the spiritual life to a formula. It’s a journey. In fact, sometimes the spiritual life isn’t a journey… it’s an avoidance of the journey which later reveals itself to have been a journey. 

A spiritual journey cannot, by very definition, be formulaic. How can a journey be a formula? That makes no sense.

Great traditions have tried and seen formulaic journeys devolve from beautiful practices or once-in-a-lifetime accidents to tours or mantras or religious tradition.

For instance, throughout the Western world are remnants of pilgrimage, an ancient practice of retracing the steps of another persons spiritual journey in an effort to replicate their spiritual experience. And many have found significance in this practice, it’s a good practice– noble, hard, and simple. And while following fellow pilgrims is great, maybe even a significant part of your spiritual life, it’s not as simple as a glorified backpacking trip.

Read any great book, those labeled as spiritual journeys, and you’ll see that you can’t package that. All you can do is posture yourself for the journey.

Following Jesus is Wild

Perhaps most offensive, in my opinion, are efforts to tame the walk with Jesus. The Bible describes our Savior as a lion… and we try to tame following him? We want to think of him as a caged up, semi-retired, toothless lion that we can pet. Cuddly? Polite. Confined to Sunday mornings wearing dockers and a polo.

But following a lion, by it’s very nature, will take you down crazy paths. Fear, triumph, failure, dirt under your nails, depth of despair, amazing heights, experiences you never imagined, caring for the poor, meeting the rich, chasing significance, finding meaning in the mundane, and even struggles for your very survival.

But a book? A formula? An action plan?

Those items of practicality pale in significance to the journey defined only by its impracticality.

Published by Adam McLane

Adam McLane is a partner at The Youth Cartel, co-author of A Parent's Guide to Understanding Social Media, blogger of 10+ years, and a fan of all things San Diego State University Aztecs.

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