Keeping up physical, emotional, social, spiritual health
Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 11:18 am
“Prove your anger, prove your empathy, prove your sense of humour. Nobody ever asks you to do that scientifically, of course, because love, anger, empathy and wit are considered an ordinary part of human nature… Spirituality used to be considered an ordinary part of the human experience as well, but now it qualifies as an extraordinary state requiring extraordinary evidence. Why should this be? It has nothing to do with what has been proved or disproved.” – Patricia Pearson, in Opening Heaven’s Door: What the Dying May Be Trying to Tell Us About Where They’re Going
Among the useful insights Patricia Pearson presents in the book noted above is her bold challenge to the popular belief that people should keep their views about spiritual issues to themselves.
“Can we stop acting like there’s a municipal bylaw in force prohibiting us from openly discussing metaphysical matters?” she might ask.
She doesn’t ask to be controversial or obnoxious; she asks because it’s been her experience – as it’s been mine – that most people are truly interested in talking about their perceptions or questions regarding the sphere of the unseen and how such impacts their sensory worlds.
A most meaningful aspect of my job in this community is sitting down over coffee with some of you who are not church-goers yet are silly enough to read my weekly musings and call to ask if we might chat.
I usually learn more than I impart in such exchanges. I’m frequently impressed at the depth of faith I discern in people who haven’t darkened a church door in years.
Something even a superficial understanding of human history conveys is the knowledge that every civilization ever documented retained beliefs regarding what lies beyond this material realm. Such perceptions were often advanced with abandon and enthusiasm; some were discarded, some retained.
Understandably, where people often become uncomfortable in discussing the myriad of such ideas that circulate out there is when they encounter attitudes of dogmatism and exclusivity. I too have been subjected to such assertiveness.
One of the reasons I’m attracted to Jesus is because the gospels report he had little time for the spiritually dogmatic of his day. He frequently avoided them, ignored them, even went out of his way to offend them. He initiated discussions the religious elite of his day maintained were closed.
No wonder people were drawn to him.
Tim is pastor of Faith Community Church in Airdrie. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org