Jesus’ life offers great hope to me because I struggle to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. God-guided, Jesus’ action was always love-inspired and full of compassion. In the eye of the daily storm, he knew the inner quiet of peace and focus. In the center stage of engagement, he would withdraw. In the midst of being with others nonstop, he knew quiet and solitude.
I share Ruth Haley Barton’s consternation regarding the way we talk about spirituality in religious circles; oftentimes creating false dichotomies between “being and doing, prayer and action, contemplation and missional engagement with the world.” I admit, I need all the help I can get avoiding those fatal illusions. Thus, I cling to Thomas R. Kelly’s A Testament of Devotion assertion that it’s possible to live with “remarkable power and peace and serenity, of integration and confidence and simplified multiplicity”, on the condition that we must really want to. And this issue of Conversations brought into focus again, that I really want to!
In fact, it prompted me to revisit a couple of questions; soul-guides, that have served me from time to time. They’re in my book, Running on Empty: Contemplative Spirituality for Overachievers.
“Is there within me, beneath all of life’s surface issues, a quiet stream that flows continually from the heart of God? Is there a solid place to which my life is riveted and from which I can reach out to others with kindness and compassion?”
I’d enjoy having a conversation about your encounters with this issue of Conversations. My heart’s longing to live a more fully integrated life has been rekindled. If it fanned that flame in your life, let’s talk!
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How have you, like Fil, been prompted by the recent issue of Conversations?
In what ways do you struggle with the integration of contemplation and action?
Fil Anderson is Executive Director of Journey Resources, based in Greensboro, North Carolina. He’s a frequent speaker at conferences, offers individual spiritual direction, and directs retreats and workshops around the country. He's the author of two books, Running on Empty: Contemplative Spirituality for Overachievers and Breaking the Rules: Trading Performance for Intimacy with God.