Desert Spirituality — ignoring what doesn’t matter

An amazing viewpoint… from Beldon C. Lane’s book The Solace of Fierce Landscapes (1996, p. 197):

Indifference, properly understood, can become a source of profoundly liberating power. Adopted as a discipline of ignoring what is not important, in light of the truth of Christ’s gospel, it becomes a countercultural influence of great significance. People who pay attention to what matters most in their lives, and who learn to ignore everything else, assume a freedom that is highly creative as well as potentially dangerous in contemporary society. Having abandoned everything of insignificance, they have nothing to lose. Apart from being faithful to God, they no longer care what happens to them.

Were Christians (and others) to practice this stubborn desert discipline today, they would find a freedom that is refreshing and contagious to some, but also threatening and intolerable to others. Unjust societal structures and people addicted to power will not tolerate being ignored. They are profoundly threatened by those not subject to their influence, those no longer playing by the accepted rules.

To cease to be driven by the fear of what other people think is to become a threat to the world as we know it. Only at great personal risk does one become indifferent to the accepted standards and expectations of the dominant culture. People willing to assume this risk, the ones who find the center of their existence outside the cultural milieu, are those who model for us today the vitality of Christian faith.