Discovery Groups we have been watching and discussing a DVD presented by an Aussie, John Dickson. One particular clip has stayed with me. Here is the transcript:
'My wife and I were invited to a very posh party, way above our pay grade, sailing around (Sydney) harbour, a couple of Christmases ago. The wine was beautiful, the pate was unpronounceable, the conversation was delightful and I got talking to a friend of my wife who was telling me how brilliantly things were going in her life.
'Her husband had received a great promotion so they were feeling financially secure. The kids were all about to start school so she felt she had some time on her hands. And they had settled in a house on the northern beaches of Sydney, so they were feeling domestically secure as well.
'And then she stopped, from no prompting from me, and looked into the distance and said: "But you know, John, sometimes I feel that there is something more to life; some spiritual dimension I've never really tapped into."
'Then, I don't know if it was that she observed the smile on my face at this turn of conversation, but as quickly as she began she stopped and said:"But I'm not really interested in that sort of thing, I don't want to talk about it." And within a flash we were back to talking about the wine, the unpronounceable pate and the beautiful sunset and all the other distractions available to us that evening.'
I came away that evening thinking that is a classic insight into Western spirituality. You could call it a 'spirituality of distraction.' It's not that we don't think about the big things, it's not that we don't believe in the big things, we do.
'In most western countries, about 80% of people say they believe in God. But if you just listen into the conversations at work, the pub or the cafe, you would never know about that spiritual dimension.
'We have this capacity to think big, but to talk and act small. We have a sense of the larger kingdom - the kingdom Jesus spoke of - and yet we find ourselves distracted by our own little kingdoms. It is the spirituality of distraction.'
A call to a deeper, fuller way of living
Perhaps somewhere in the inner depths of your being you have heard the call to a deeper, fuller living. You have become weary of frothy experiences and sound bites. Every now and again you have caught glimpses - hints of something more than you have known - but all too quickly the muchness and manyness of modern living have drowned out the still, small, beckoning voice from the beyond and our spirituality has become weak and withered, overcome by distraction.
The paradox is that we often realise that it is what we make of our spiritual dimension that will ultimately be of most importance, yet we allow almost anything to get in the way of exploring it. Do we not owe it to ourselves to study and explore the spiritual life with the rigour we would give to any other field of knowledge?