What is Your Spiritual Season?

The Village: Wyeth Inspired Fall Season Chair

As you may remember, last week I shared Joyful Lips in Higher Education.

Over the weekend, I spent a significant time reflecting upon The Village and Andrew Wyeth.

“Spiritual Rhythm” Cover

Is it no surprise that on Monday, a friend from the academy shared with me Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul (Mark Buchanan. Zondervan. 2010)?  I encourage you to take a few minutes to consider what Buchanan shares in the audio interview posted at christianbook.com.

The first part of the interview focuses upon the spiritual season of winter, which Buchanan experienced as a result of losing a close friend, leading him to wrestle with his spiritual season and inspiring him to a write a book to bless others as they seek to find their spiritual rhythm (in contrast to spiritual balance).  Buchanan comments in another place:

I distinguish between rhythm and balance. Balance is what most people seek, but I think it’s is a myth. Balance in life is something that, even if we can attain it, is not worth the effort. It’s like standing a kayak: it’s fragile, inert, and a misuse of the kayak.

Rhythm is what we seek when we paddle the kayak. Balance flows out of rhythm as a natural by-product of it. Balance is not the point of life any more than it’s the point of kayaking, but it’s what happens without our even having to think about it when we get our rhythm right.

In a spiritual sense, rhythm is comprised of our pace of life and our ways of engagement in any given season. A good rhythm is what serves us best that season. In winter, we move at a different pace than, say, in spring. We engage life and God differently. That difference is defined by rhythm. — Mark Buchanan interview 1 of 2: On Spiritual Rhythm (EngagingChurch: A Zondervan Church & Ministry blog. Andrew Rogers. 8/13/2010).

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and prepare to enter Advent, in what spiritual season do you find yourself?  My friend is in winter*.  I rejoice that we do not live in a reality where it is always Winter and never Spring.

If you’re interested in taking some more time with Buchanan’s consideration of winter, check out the preview available via Google Books.

Note:  A few of Buchanan’s serious musings on winter in relationship to pastoral care and preaching for the flock:

I’d love it if pastors would preach on the idea. When I preached this to my congregation (before writing the book), it washed over them in waves of relief. For example, I estimate that a third of any congregation is, at any given time, experiencing some kind of heart’s winter. Most of the way we do church makes these people feel like failures, heretics, renegades. Our “busyness” model alienates people already in the throes of alienation. That is a pastoral crisis. It fails to bring the full weight of biblical witness to bear on the lives of our people. I have taken to asking pastors, “Have you ever preached on Psalm 88?” I’ve yet to meet one who has. And yet, many of your people live there.

I recently taught a 2-week course at regent College on the book’s material. Many of the students were pastors, and in conversation with several I discovered a use for the book I’d not envisioned while writing it: that whole denominations can go through a particular season. One pastor felt that the book gave him insights to help his denomination diagnose and tackle issues that had plagued them for years. — Mark Buchanan interview 1 of 2: On Spiritual Rhythm (EngagingChurch: A Zondervan Church & Ministry blog. Andrew Rogers.  8/13/2010)

12/5/2012 8:15 AM Editor’s note: Zondervan had initially provided the first 41 pages online  For ESN’s developing Advent archive click here.

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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