Like me mate Rob Rife, who publishes his superlative posts on his blog Innerwoven, another dear friend and soul brother, Dr. Charles Ringma posts reflections on his blog Notes from the Hermitage. I desperately hang out for both their contributions each week/month. Let me help you to see why….
Charles recently published a blog spot that read:
The Christian life for me has been much more a journey of ‘plugging along.’ And the months of hermitage time has only reinforced this.
This ‘plugging along’ has often had the flavour of ‘the dark night’ of the soul. Rather than a sense of being caught up in something, it has been the lonely walk of faith.
As I have ‘sat’ with this and pondered its implications, I have only come away with more questions. Is our secular Western life-style so all pervasive that this is what sets the tone of our lives – secularity is what we are caught up in and our maintenance of a Christian way of life is but a weak protest? Furthermore, is our participation in the life of the church so minimal that it is no longer a formative and sustaining reality – thus we are at best spiritual pilgrims or religious refugees? And finally, and surely most importantly, is a ‘move’ of the Spirit no longer to be expected in our world. I think in all honesty we would have to answer ‘yes’ if our lack of prayer and expectation is any indication. This then raises the troubling question, is God simply giving us what we have resigned ourselves to? It may well be so!
He concludes his pondering by asking a very poignant question; “Maybe the time has come that Christians, and particularly those in the West, need to become ‘God botherers.’ By this I mean that we need to ‘trouble’ God.” At first blush, I wondered if he meant this as a pejorative. But then, I sat with his words for a while — and it came to me in a flash. Maybe my friend is echoing what Thomas Merton voiced so long ago concerning the Contemplative lifestyle adopted among the monastics? Maybe we’ve forgotten how to be trouble makers? God-botherers… Maybe we’re being to prim & proper? Out of the zone, so to speak.
I believe I’m out of the zone, at least. I walk this journey. many times feeling very alone. God seems so distant. People are too much to take. Life seems so convoluted. Expectations diminish. Spirituality becomes hard work. A job — a task. Just like all the other “tasks” in life that I feel caught up in. It really take on the lackluster stance of maintenance. I honestly can’t say what forms my current reality.
I’d love to be a trouble-maker again. Taking the mickey out of God and Christ. How about you?