May 14, 2008

Musings on faith and spiritual growth…

Posted in Musings tagged , , at 10:32 am by myrlinn

First that terrible cyclone in Myanmar, then that earthquake in China. The end of the world is coming! Or at least that’s what someone said to me the other day, which set me to thinking of the times people thought the end of the world was near, sold off everything they had, gave everything away, and stood in the streets waiting…

Me? I can’t see myself doing anything like that. I’m too practical. I’d be too worried about the what ifs. I’d be wondering: What if the end of the world doesn’t happen? I’d be homeless, destitute!

Still, I wonder what it’s like to walk through life with that kind of absolute faith. I read The Gospel of Jesus: In Search of the Original Good News (James M. Robinson) a couple of weeks ago.

A slight digression: Since I mentioned the book, I might as well talk a bit about it. The author has excellent credentials, which is why I decided to read it. However, I didn’t feel very comfortable with the assumptions the author made in reconstructing what Jesus ‘really’ said. Without any background in biblical scholarship, I have no way to judge the validity of his assumptions. However, I found the historical and linguistic details fascinating, and the book worth reading for that.

Back to my initial thread of thought… the book says that Jesus’ “true” message was to put your trust fully in God, that God will provide everything you need. That’s why Jesus always travelled just with his clothes on his back. Now, it’s difficult for me to fathom that degree of trust. To give up everything. To me, that’d be like closing your eyes and jumping off the cliff, expecting that you will float gently to the base of the cliff.

It’s definitely easier to trust in God when you don’t lose anything, but have everything to gain. (That’s how many churches ‘sell’ Christianity these days. Believe and you’ll be saved, no pain on your part).

Now, that’s a fascinating question to me: Can you gain spiritual strength without trial? Without giving up something at least? My reason tells me not. I look at the world around me, and I see duality in so many things that it’s like a law of nature. So it stands to reason, at least in my mind, that spiritual gain should come as a result of giving up something, experiencing pain, and suffering. And in a way, it’s very comforting to hold that thought, because that means that whatever difficulties come my way… it counts for something.

That’s it… my musing for the day. For what it’s worth.

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