The Monk in Me

May inspired this post today. She’s sweet like that!

I’ve been working on a syllabus for my Composition Class and decided to use the theme Devotion this semester. I’ve been reading Life Together by Bonhoeffer and also studying up on ancient spiritual practices. This must be a popular topic because the last time I wrote on one of the many things I’ve learned about in this study, thin places, my blog got a ton of extra hits. And almost everyday someone googles “thin places” and finds Rare Rocks.

It has been popular with me as well. I moved offices and decided to use a new decorating theme I call “Ancient Faith.” I found some antique-looking crosses in thick frames. I also found a beautiful photo, called “Sanctuary”, of the inside of a French cathedral from this Etsy store. I look at the photo, at the tall ceilings and light filled windows, and think, wow, the spiritual life is meant to be beautiful like that. We are his temple, after all! That is the kind I want to be!

I wonder if I’m into this stuff just because it is relatively new to me? I’ve grown-up in house churches and non-denominational churches housed in old grocery stores or gymnasiums. The physical asthetic of my worship place was not something I really thought about. Now I do. I drive by an abandoned or nearly out of use church and think, I should buy that place and fix it up! (If the church is made of brick or stone this is especially true – just ask my husband!)

Or do you think it is something in my spiritual make-up that I’ve simply never explored? Many of the people I know who were raised Catholic are sick of the traditions and the ceremony. Maybe I’m just becoming a more well-rounded Christian? Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Pathways takes on this topic of spiritual temperament. Reading that book reminded me to look at the spiritual personalities of others as a source of challenge and appreciation instead of as division lines. Maybe right now I’m just making friends with my more traditional self.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Monk in Me

  1. Molly

    I think it is both. I grew up in Lutheran church and school til I was about 10 and thought church was SOOOO boring (which may have simply been my childish short attention span), but even then I was awe inspired by the beauty of the vaulted ceilings and stained glass murals. Later on I took delight in the personal relationship with Jesus that just happened to be preached in a big brown box of a building. I’m sure that’s what the guy in the flowing robes was trying to say all along, and put those two together and wow, what a combo.

    I think all beautiful things — whether created by the hands of God as in nature or created by the hands of man like that lovely stained glass — uplift the eyes of our soul to God.

  2. Debra

    I understand your questions. My soul has been begging for freedom and the one thing that I have noticed since this freedom cry began, is that I desire more pageantry in worship, more tradition.
    More beauty!! Going out to purchase book! Thanks!

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