Jordon Cooper has a link on his site to an article from Christianity Today – an interview with Eugene Peterson. It seems to be hitting right where I am at as far as my needing congruence – a good sense of alignment of who I am and what I do. I think I get too caught up in wanting the contemplative side of my life to take precedence but I am also a person who has been given certain practical gifts and, as far as I know, I need to continue to use them. I guess I need to find a renewed sense of being useful to God where I am now. I need to live out my life in this constant tension between the practical work world in which I live and the world of the spirit where I would like to dwell.
I especially liked the following quotes from the article:
“Do not let the word “contemplative” throw you off, Peterson admonished. He is not interested in an isolated life spent pondering high-minded concepts. Instead, the contemplative Christian life can be described by what he saw in Tournier—a life lived with “wholeness, honesty, without contrivance.” One word that comes to mind is authenticity, but the one Peterson used over and over was congruence—the alignment of who you are and what you do, the harmony of the ends you seek and the means you use to achieve them….”
“It’s easier to talk about what Christians do—life as performance,” Peterson said. But the three pieces of Jesus’ fundamental declaration that he is the way, the truth, and the life, must be in perfect correspondence. “Only when we live Jesus’ truth in Jesus’ way do we get Jesus’ life,” Peterson said. Not his truth in our way for the sake of our life….”
“He introduced this baffling paradox of the Christian life. “This is slow work; it cannot be hurried. This is urgent work; it cannot be procrastinated.” In American culture, in which “fast” is equated with “good,” this is a contradiction. What’s worse about the contemplative life, he told me afterwards, is that “most of the time you’re unconscious of it. … The minute you start thinking about it, you mess it up; there’s a sense of always having dissonance.”
I do want my life to be in proper alignment – to be living Jesus’ way, to be doing what I do the way I do it because of Jesus living in me.
I think there is a lot of truth to the statement about the contemplative life best being lived unconsciously. I begin to lose the purpose he called me to when I start to worry if there is perhaps a more contemplative life for me somewhere. I need to live in the “now” doing the jobs he has placed right in front of me. Sort of need to keep my feet on the ground, hands in the mouths, eyes on Jesus. Above all keep my eyes on Jesus.