Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why I don't do "devotions" or "time with Jesus"

In Bible college, there is lots of talk about dates with Jesus, spending time with Jesus, and doing devotions. Judgements about your "spiritual life" are based on your performance of these things. Those who have a nice solemn quiet time every morning will sin less, will be happier, and more zen-like. Those who don't, well, you can TELL.  If one doesn't charge up their spiritual battery in the Almighty charger, they will run out of spiritual gumption and end up drunk in the gutter, very likely pregnant.

During this time, I too felt the pressure, judged myself based on my performance of such activities. I remember one night one of the girls on my floor came to me in tears with a humiliating confession, she hadn't done her devotions in weeks, and worse she didn't WANT to. I was sad for her and wondered  at the benefit of it. I drifted back and forth in my feelings towards devotional time, or the special time with Jesus until I read a freeing book called "A Spirituality of the Road." I have since lent out 2, and neither has returned to me. Must be good... or getting forgotten. Ahem. I digress.

This book began an idea in me that has led to me freedom from devotional oppression. This ultimately freeing idea is simply this. There is no spiritual battery. Scandalous, I know. We are entirely spiritual beings, as well as entirely physical.  When I wash dishes, it is a spiritual activity. When I go on a hike and witness natural beauty at it's finest, it is a spiritual activity. When I listen to a sermon on a Sunday morning, it is as a spiritual being. There are no activities that are more "spiritual" than another.

As Western Christians we are like our dichotomies. We like to keep our holy spiritual person safe and clear of our sexual person.  We like to have tidy categories with which to judge our current status. Reading a good devotional-check. Daily personal "Jesus" time-check.  Weekly Bible study- check. Getting to church early, toting Bible- check. Ahh. My Spiritual life is clearly thriving. With so many spiritual ticks, I can avoid disastrous sinful behaviour and earn (ha ha ha, not really, I'm a CHRISTIAN! I don't EARN Christ's approval!) Christ's approval. And yet, with such a fully charged spiritual battery, people fail. Mom's yell. Dad's swear. Kids sneak. Singles stumble. Married's trip and fall.

This blog post is meandering. I will end by saying this. Bible reading is awesome. I read when I can. I like to have my Bible reading time challenge what I know about God. I like to let it direct me, rather than my wonderful theology direct it.  But I am not enslaved to this good thing. Jesus was there while me and my daughter coloured monsters. He was there when we chuckled about butt-jokes together. He was also there as we sang our VBS songs.  He is more present than my husband.

And I'm just so blessed that there is never a moment that He is not around.


Genevieve said...

That is an interesting perspective! I'll have to look that book up and read it.
I've been struggling to find time for a daily "meeting with God" - haven't been reading my Bible or even praying that much - since Sam was born. My whole world is topsy turvy now, and I was feeling a bit guilty about skipping the daily devotions to nap with my baby, or wash the dishes...

Anonymous said...

Often Christians in the literate West forget the reality that most of the world isn't literate, and doesn't have a copious copies of the Bible lying around. So they can't do a "Daily Devo" - they gladly receive when and where they can, but they are no less spiritual than the Bible hoarder that I am. In fact they might be more so.