The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Monday, September 14, 2015

Give me some skin

Do you ever feel uncomfortable in your skin? Not because of your appearance. You just don’t feel at home in your human body. If you are feeling this way there is a good reason according to St. Paul:

“…we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:2-4).

We are spiritual beings who are seeking our real spiritual existence and home. Unfortunately, many people fail to recognize that their dis-ease with themselves is a spiritual issue so they seek out our culture’s substitutes: money, fame, notoriety, power, sex. If they cannot get the real deal they get it vicariously by wearing and driving the brand names of their heroes, decorating their homes in keeping with the latest trends, joining a political trend, even going to the largest church in town. All of this frenetic effort is an attempt to heal the dis-ease.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience; not human beings having a spiritual experience.

There is only one cure for this dis-ease: coming home to the Creator.

Ronald Friesen © 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dying to live!

There is a popular saying among American Christians: Not perfect, just forgiven. I have never found this message to be very inspiring or helpful. I think it cheapens the Gospel. It also allows for some very egregious behavior that Christians want to excuse because “I am not perfect, just forgiven.” When St. Paul talked about followers of Jesus being imperfect this is what he had in mind:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:7-10).

To be imperfect is to recognize that if we are at all able to withstand the struggles of every day at all it is because of God’s power in us. Imperfection is not an occasion for sinful behavior; imperfection is an opportunity for God’s power to explode through us. One of the ways we ensure that we do not let our imperfection reign over us is to understand where the imperfection comes from: our ego. One way to look at ego is think of it as Edging God Out. The only way to deal with your ego is to kill it. This why St. Paul said we had to bear in ourselves the death of Jesus. With the death of our ego comes the opportunity for the beauty of Spirit of Jesus to live through us.

Instead of “Not perfect, just forgiven,” followers of Jesus need to live and proclaim this message: Dying to live!

Ronald Friesen © 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

The look that changes us...

I am on a new part of my spiritual journey. I have joined myself to a wonderful man who is teaching me the beauty and power of meditation through various forms of prayer and reflection. St. Paul encouraged meditation in this text:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

It has been said that we become what we look at. The object of our visual attention captures us and begins to change us. The follower of Jesus is encouraged to look and meditate on the the beauty of the Lord. Some theologians call this gazing at the beatific vision. The power of this vision is its ability to change us, to transform us. We cannot gaze at the beauty of God’s love, mercy and grace without being changed.

If its true that we become what we eat; it is also true that we become what we look at. What are you and I looking at?

Ronald Friesen © 2015