Listening to myself

DSCF2097I don’t know about you but sometimes I say wise things to other people which I really need to listen to myself!  I have been reflecting today on whether I still struggle with the notion that there is a hierarchy  of spiritual activities.

Each year as part of a research methods module that I teach I get students to do a corporate mini-research project on a topic of their own choosing.  A few years ago now they chose to do something around how they connected best with God.  What emerged from the research was the way they best connected with God was through nature.

This afternoon I spent time with six other clergy, we were walking and talking along tree lined paths and I was admiring the changing colours of autumn, it felt like a spiritual time being outside in changing weather in a changing season and I have come home feeling refreshed and renewed.  When I read that it sounds like a helpful supportive time and a good way to spend a Friday afternoon even if it means spending Friday evening catching up on my study.

However, when I add that we were playing golf there is a part of me that feels like that means we were on a jolly and it wasn’t a spiritual activity.  I still carry a bit of baggage about what are “spiritual” activities and what are not and somehow sport is not as spiritual as art or journaling or poetry.  However, I have been passionate about sport all my life and sometimes in playing sport I have this notion that Eric Liddle had “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. [not this bit!] And when I run I feel His pleasure”.  I feel God’s pleasure when I am out enjoying his creation even though I may also be hitting a little white ball along the way.  This is one of those things where I need to listen to myself when I talk about spirituality and say how important it is to find ways where you genuinely connect with God.  I connected with God this afternoon and that is a good thing, I believe that God is pleased when we connect and I should be too and not have a little bit of guilt diminishing the pleasure.  Hopefully writing this may mean that this is another little bit of baggage I can dump!

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2 thoughts on “Listening to myself

  1. I hope writting that helped you dump the baggage you needed to! I believe that God can meet us in all places and through all sorts of activities. To say that sport cannot be spiritual is a bit like saying Church can only be on a Sunday. It totally depends on how we approach an activity. If we approach it with an openess to meeting God and enjoying his creation then off course it can be spiritual. There is nothing to feel guilty about there!

    I have never played golf (unless you count crazy golf!) but as you described walking along the tree lined paths and admiring Gods creation I could really connect with how spiritual, refreshing and renewing that could be. Before I was ill, going out for walks was one of the times I felt closest to God, and probably one of my biggest coping mechanisms-to spend time walking, or even sitting outside, admiring Gods creation. I felt far closer to God during some of those times as I walked and prayed; listened or simply admired his creation, than I often did at church…not sure if there is something wrong with that or not! The times you have shared about communion on the beach have sounded wonderful-meeting with God in the fullness of his creation. Like you, I love the sea, although I hardly ever get to go there; it is one of the places I feel closest to God. All these things are worship if our heart is open to God. Just a shame you then have the study to catch up on!

  2. Spot on… One of the places I feel most easily connected to the divine, is with my hand on the tiller of my sailing boat in a gentle breeze… ‘Simply messing about in boats’ with Him…

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