Since it's back-to-school time and our minds are back on academics, I'm writing on a "heavier" topic than I've dealt with in a while. This is part one of two.
“...until we all...become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:13-14
If I asked you to name your favorite hobbies, I bet one your answers would be “reading.” The sales of Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble testify to the fact that Americans love to read. Today book clubs are practically a requirement for any suburban mom’s resume. A glance at the NY Times Bestseller lists paints a picture of what we’re reading. And it’s not just fiction that captures our fancies, but non-fiction too.
Judging by the non-fiction best-seller lists we’re looking for others who’ll help us make some aspect of “us” better. We want improved bodies, finances, careers, dinner menus, children, pets, relationships and most of all, improved selves.
Presently, best-selling advice books include The Secret, (the law of attraction as a key to getting what you want), The Last Lecture, (thoughts on “seizing every moment”), The Power of Now, (a guide to personal growth and spiritual enlightenment) and Soul Wisdom, (how to harness the power of the soul for healing and personal transformation).
It's obvious: we’re hungry. We’re searching for that “thing”; that philosophy; that path which leads to a secret door in ourselves we always felt existed but could never find. We hold out hope this time we’ll discover the answer we’ve been looking for.
In the book Eat, Pray, Love, which has been on the best-seller list for 83 weeks, the author takes a year-long journey in an effort to heal herself from deep emotional and spiritual pain. Traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia, she searches for a balm to soothe her soul. Along the way, instead of ascribing to any one religion or philosophy, she takes her favorite bits from the many beliefs, teachings and philosophies she encounters and concocts her own spiritual soup.
The book spawned two Oprah shows and propelled the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, into the role of self-help guru offering a short-cut to spiritual truth. Thousands of devotees, mostly women, ascribe to her “teachings.” Many have even retraced the steps of her trip.
Many reading this post have read Gilbert's book. Is hers the truth we're looking for?
There is no doubt, we're spiritually famished, but with so many enticing choices from which to choose, it's not always easy to discern the healthy food from the junk.
As Christians, it’s clear where we find our spiritual food. In John 6, Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (v. 35) Even those with a passing knowledge of the Bible are familiar with this verse. Yet, knowing that Jesus is the bread of life and being filled by Him are two very different things.
...to be continued.