Tuesday, July 24, 2007

On Solitude

In the summer we have a book discussion group at church that meets once a month. One of the ministers chooses a book, we read it, and then meet for lunch and conversation. Each year has a theme--this year's is spiritual development. So we've read A Mind for God by James Emery White and Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas. Both books are really enlightening, but Sacred Pathways was surprising.

Thomas explained (finally) why some worship experiences leave some worshippers flat and unsatisfied. God has created them to worship him in ways that are unique to the person. He offers several "spiritual temperaments" along with suggestions on how your own temperament can be used to draw you closer to God--or not, if you succumb to temptations peculiar to it.

I had expected to fit the intellectual temperament, which I did. No surprise there, since I love to read, study, and discuss ideas. The tendency to fixate on small truths and argue the fine points of scripture fits too. What was surprising was that I scored almost as high on asceticism. Honestly, I am almost never alone--till now. My new office is in the basement of the college, and not many people venture down here unless they have an appointment. So I can work on my own, in the quiet. Amazing how much I love it.

So if I retreat to my own corner and close the door, I'm not sleeping--I'm worshipping!


Anonymous said...

Good insights. I wonder if in a lot of our worship we are only appealing to certain kinds of people, or if we unintentionally make some people feel guilty if they don't think a certain style or method is the greatest worship experience.

The guy who runs the book group is a little strange--probably comes from a weird family.

Professor P. said...

The book did explain why you get the same complaints from the same people--our corporate worship styles tend to follow the same general style each week, with minor variations. The book makes the point that a given service may only appeal to 1/9 of the population. But if you are only worshipping 1 hour a week, you're not really developing your own spiritual life as you should.

About the weird family--have you met mine?