But this time I saw what I couldn’t see before: Spirituality is hard to nurture in a vacuum when we are our own gurus.This is why Christian spirituality has always flowed out of community.
But community is only one aspect of Christian spirituality.
Over the last 20 years there has been a significant increase in interest among Christians in the spiritual traditions of our past.
you are that flower to me.’ Then I came home and it was like nothing had ever happened. I was back to being a pastor to people who didn’t understand.” So again, what we need to be mindful of is that spiritual practices were never intended to be individual.
Sometimes we Presbyterians can be somewhat dismissive of Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox brothers, sisters, monks and nuns.
It has sparked a much-needed growth in awareness of Christ’s presence everywhere, calling us to a deeper way of life that nurtures the fruits of the Spirit, such as compassion, generosity, self-discipline, patience, kindness and peace.
It used to be that spiritual disciplines were something only monks and nuns, and some Protestants, did in solitude, but even their solitude was still in connection with community — the monastery or the church.In my years as a pastor and spiritual counselor, I’ve noticed how much we’ve Americanized Christian spirituality. We’ve treated spirituality as though it’s largely individual — as a matter of just Christ and me.Almost all the ways we focus on spirituality tend to be individualistic, or if we take a communal approach, it’s only temporarily communal.But I walked away for reasons that were a bit different from those of many of my friends. I was seeking something more than I thought was available from the church.I was seeking an authentic, experiential spirituality — although I never would have said it in that way back then.More Christians, including many Presbyterians, are engaging in practices such as contemplative prayer, reflective reading, journaling and guided meditation, especially in the context of small groups and church practices.