Chapter 9 of Tim Chester and Steve Timmis’ book, Total Church, talks about Biblical spirituality. They claim, rightly, that spirituality is word-based, and focussed on the person of Jesus.

“Union with Christ is not the goal of spirituality, it is the foundation on spirituality. It is not attained through disciplines or stages; it is given through childlike faith”

This, I agree with. As Christian’s we are not trying to be spritual in order to get to God, this path has been opened up to us through Jesus. Spirituality can therefore be seen as an engagement with the world rather than a detatchment from it. Timmis and Chester give an excellent example of a young Christian trying to do this, by remaining integrated with non-Christian friends and groups.

This is true, but at the same time, Chester an Timmis seem to see spending time in solitude and silence as and irrelevant part of spirituality. I certainly agree that it is not the entirety of spirituality, and it is also not a means by which to get to God, but surely by clearing our schedules and setting aside time, it enables us to focus our minds on God. I am also not suggesting that this quiet should be divorced from scripture, or that we go in search of an inner spiritual identity. Likewise, God will give us an extra revelation of himself to sit over and above scripture. But we do not have to choose between solitude and scripture.

But, the time to meditate on God’s words in the Bible, to clear our minds or preoccupations so that we can get to the heart of some issues and in short, engage with God. We clear our schedules so we can hear his voice speaking through scripture and through others. This is part of a biblical picture of spirituality. Didn’t God speak to Elijah through the stillness? Didn’t Jesus retreat away from the crowds on his own?

In this chapter, Chester and Timmis say a lot of good things, but I think they have missed a trick by dismissing stillness and solitude so easily.


2 thoughts on “Spirituality”

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