What if everyone is spiritual just as everyone is physical, as part of being human? Not just people who are already following Jesus. And including people who are following Jesus.
What if everyone has spiritual temperaments, personality traits? Not just people who have been given that personality after they start praying.
Think about it for a moment. You don’t suddenly get your eye color or your left thumb after you start following Jesus. But you can use those parts of you in following.
It’s possible that the temperaments are part of who we are. We don’t suddenly become interested in contemplation after we start developing a relationship with God, it’s the way that we’re built to have that relationship.
I have many conversations with people about church and God and faith. In the course of conversation, it’s clear that some people have been taught that church attendance is God’s measurement of them. But when they talk about the struggle they have with one church or another, it’s clear to me that they are describing a spiritual personality difference.
That may be why most people find some part of what we know as church irrelevant. Not every person is a “big box” or “ornate decoration” or “large crowd” or “small crowd” person.
Rather than asking people, “Would you like to come to church with me?” perhaps we should ask, “When are you most aware of something or someone outside of you?” And then we can suggest the nine possibilities we looked at last week and we can talk about the different people we looked at yesterday.
That would help my friend who stands out in a field talking with God understand that she doesn’t have to be in a building for it to “count” as prayer.
That would help my friends whose son is deeply engaged in relationship with friends and conversations about God and helping care for people with needs, but isn’t interested in large group youth programs.
That has helped me give people clarity about their relationship with God.
“How can I hear God better?”
One way is by learning to pay attention. “Lent For Non-Lent People” is a seven-week guide to learning to listen for God. In this short book, pastor and social media chaplain Jon Swanson helps readers use the season of Lent to learn to focus on God by:
-Learning how to break habits of distraction and busyness;
-Learning how God spoke to a prophet in depression after a big event
-Listening to Jesus talk to an ostracized woman, to a close friend, and to the enemy of our souls.
In the appendix, Jon shares his own story of Lent and the loss of a child.
Whether or not you grew up with Lent, this book can help you listen for God.
Available in paperback and for Kindle (Free on Kindle through February 4, 2017)