Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Falsetto Spirituality

In Soul Graffiti, Mark Scandrette writes, "A fascination with the supernatural can be a sign of spiritual fragmentation, a falsetto spirituality that strains to reach beyond the normal". As I pondered that statement, I realized that it is so true in much of what is called Christianity.

The obvious examples of this "fascination with the supernatural" are those who run from place to place seeking signs and wonders and "fresh anointing" from God. The supposed moving of God can keep arenas, and ministry accounts, full for months as people swarm to experience a touch from God to lift their lives above the ordinary sameness of their daily lives. While some would consider these events on the fringe, there are other examples that hit a bit closer to home.

Mainstream evangelicalism is concerned with showing people how to have their best life now, with programs that will enable folks to experience a life that rises above the ordinary. Church leaders are given opportunities to learn the secrets of success from The CEO: Jesus. Congregations strive to be extraordinary and have bigger and better facilities and programs. Supernatural power that gets prayers answered and our needs (wants) supplied is constantly sought.

Even those of a more conservative, fundamental bent are not immune to a hunger for the supernatural. They seek a home far away in heaven, a home where the physical no longer matters, a place to escape this broken world. Many of the rules and regulations in fundamental groups seem designed to limit contact with this physical world and its "corruption".

I'm not saying that the supernatural does not matter. I am awed when God performs genuine miracles of healing, and when he provides for his people in supernatural ways. I rejoice when prayers are answered and when godly leaders influence others to follow Jesus Christ. I too believe that this world is broken and corruption runs deep.

What I am saying, and what I think is the point of the quotation from Scandrette, is that the normal, ordinary parts of our lives matter. We are called to follow Jesus here and now, not in a future existence outside of this world. Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom was here, that the King had arrived. Christ's Kingdom is not of this world, but it does have an impact on this world. We have been given the commission and privilege to participate in the work that God is currently doing in this world.

If we look around us with eyes that can see, we can notice how God is working in the day-to-day of our lives. In fact, I think the really supernatural and miraculous thing is that the Creator of all things uses broken, ordinary people like us to do the work of restoring his creation, a work that will finally be complete when Jesus returns. The work of the Kingdom is not just those things that we see as "spiritual". It sometimes involves getting dirty and dealing with ordinary things. But, then again, Jesus used ordinary things. He used spit and dirt to heal a blind man, for goodness sake! Why do we think we have to "rise above the ordinary".

Look for God at work in the ordinary, and ask him where he wants you to fit into what he is doing. Don't run after the supernatural. Remember, many times a falsetto voice doesn't sound very good.


franklin said...

And so...I don't wonder what ministry God might have for Instead, I simply wake up and ask what ministry he has for me to do today...NOW! He is in our present with us and all we have to do each day is enter his Kingdom...receive it...and live in it! Good news...thanks.

Jeff McQ said...

Outstanding post. This has verbalized some things I've been feeling for awhile, and also stirred me to add to the conversation. (I now know what I'm going to write about today, and it will include a link back here.)

Well said. Thanks!

co_heir said...

Thank you both for your comments.

Franklin, I'm learning that the best way to live life is to let God lead day to day. I've worried about things in the near or far future way to much and it hasn't done me a bit of good.

Jeff, please add to the conversation. The more people we can get thinking like this better off we will be.

Lightbearer said...

Excellent post. I really think that one reason people are chasing after the supernatural is that they are trying to escape from the reality of their ordinary lives.

But, I agree with you. We should try to find God in the ordinary and try to find out wants He wants us to do within our daily lives. That's just what I've always tried to do.


Pam Hogeweide said...

Great post, CH. I agree with all the comments here, especially Lightbearer when he said,

one reason people are chasing after the supernatural is that they are trying to escape from the reality of their ordinary lives.

Ain't that the truth! The longing to for significance makes us vulnerable, I think, in chasing after that elusive encounter that is gonna rock us out of Mundane-ville. I'm so glad to meet other folks in the blogosphere who are discovering, like I am, that our significance is anchored in God's love who moves and exists in our very simple everyday living. No fireworks. No bells or whistles. Just the quiet hum of a life plodding along, one step at a time. That's where I look for God these days. (and in the blogosphere, too!)

co_heir said...

It seems that a lot of folks either try to escape their ordinary lives by either chasing the supernatural or by watching reality tv.

abmo said...

Hi, I agree with Pam. The longing to for significance makes us vulnerable, espescially when it comes to "not" being ourselves.

Jesus did some supernatural and miraculous stuff, but tried to keep it quiet. And sometimes the crowds came to Jesus, but He always said stuff that "offended" them away. He chose 12 people. Maybe we should humble ourselves a bit and not go for more numbers than Him.

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