Ordinary Life as context for Spiritual formation

We have for years now wrestled with the phrase “Ordinary Life As Context For Spiritual Formation”. It has been one of the phrases that have guided our thinking and our experimentation. I have for a long time wrestled with a “life-dualism”, I have struggled with the notion that I was living two lives, one as a Christian, and one as a human. I always struggled with the fact that my “human” life felt secondary. Learning how to heal people, how to see angels, how to have super-spiritual experiences, how to interpret dreams, how to see into the spiritual world took first place. Taking care of my ordinary life was second, if I had time. I remember a few months after our family left the church we had been attending, where we had been involved in so much stuff that our week was swallowed up in ministry, I had a conversation with my friend Mark and I said something like “It so weird right now because all I am is a dad and a husband”. Mark looked at me and did the “time-out” sign. He then said “Your language betrays you, somehow you have come to believe that those things are not important. What is more important than being a good dad and a good husband?” That comment still haunts me. I had to look at the life of my family and realize how we completely lived in a world that didn’t really exist. We some how lived in a shadow world. Unconnected to reality. There was a horrible dis-harmony because despite spiritual experiences, healing, great music, excitement, our children were stuck in baby-sitting variations all the time, we never did family stuff, we never enjoyed each others presence, school work didn’t get done, no sense of adventure etc. etc.

So it all broke. It all came crashing down and now then, our ordinary life is becoming the context for our journey. Eating together has new meaning. Play has new meaning. Presence has new meaning. Tending to ordinary life is becoming an adventure. Getting to know our neighbors, planning and living out our “pilgrimage” back into our neighborhood. Living where God is already at work.

It’s not really very sexy, no bells, no whistles. Lot’s of hard work and learning to live with suffering, yours and others, instead of blaming it on demons. Learning to live with an almost constant reminder of my own selfishness and pride in the confrontation of my need for entertainment and self promotion. Simplicity will do that to you. Ordinary life will do that to you.

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~ by Rickard on October 19, 2007.

One Response to “Ordinary Life as context for Spiritual formation”

  1. Hi Rickard,
    I can certainly relate to the shadow existence of a life immersed in church activities. We experienced the same feelings of disorientation and lack of purpose after leaving our church ministry centered life. We are also being healed of the fractured dualism of that mentality. I look forward to hearing more about your journey.

    BTW, I remember appreciating the posts by Viking when I used to read at the Allelon Forum.

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