Archives for April 2013

Christians Not Immune to Ruts

A lot of Christians follow a specific pattern when they either convert into the faith or are born into it but make it their own. They embrace their faith with great enthusiasm, continue along that path for awhile, then they get bored.

Once they get in a rut there are a couple of possible outcomes. The first is that the person overcomes the rut and tries to make the faith more fresh and meaningful. Or, they find their faith so boring and meaningless that they give up and move onto other things, or nothing.

We often fall into the trap of thinking that being Christian and having the Holy Spirit somehow makes us immune to ruts. I’ve heard it probably hundreds of times from new Christians or those who made some sort of intentional re-dedication. They swear that they’re never going to lose the fire. Until, that is they do.

Being in a rut is normal. We get into ruts with jobs, families, friends, and even lives. There’s no reason why our faith, which is earthly too, should be any different. They key lies in getting over the rut.

Once we get in a spiritual rut, I recommend finding a way to break out and become spiritually fresh again. Read a good Christian book, try a new prayer practice, visit a new parish for a couple of weeks. Or take up a new daily practice like the rosary or an early morning mass.

Perhaps the best solution is to recognize that being enthusiastic all the time is unrealistic. We’re going to have ups and downs in our faith, especially when it comes to be being bored. We just have to learn to accept that the mundane is a part of spiritual life and growth.

So, don’t get too worked up about that rut. Christians aren’t immune to them.

Faith Is Sometimes Risky

red roseWe humans are naturally risk averse. In other words, we prefer our comfort zones to going out on a limb and taking risks in life that make us uncomfortable.

It’s not a surprise because even the phrase going out on a limb implies a bad result. When you get to the end of the limb, they break or you fall. Either way you hit the ground with a thud.

Think of the person who wants to pick a beautiful red rose. He first needs to brave the thorns.

But, taking risks in our faith is extremely important. All the great leaders and saints in the Christian traditions have realized this. Jesus himself took great risks that ultimately led to his death and resurrection for our sins. St. Francis reformed the Church through his risks. John XXIII took a risk with the Second Vatican Council. Even today, Pope Francis is showing a risky faith can create controversy.

Our faith is sometimes risky. We may have to stand up for it in ways that make us fundamentally or unpopular. Or maybe our beliefs will end up losing us friends or money or influence. Faith is always a risk or at least it should be.

Sadly, in many cases faith isn’t even a real risk. Being a squishy Christian isn’t really risk. Going with the flow poses no threats. But, is that a real faith? Or is a real faith one that goes out on a limb frequently to find new and creative ways to serve God?

In this way, Pope Francis is a role model. He has already changed many conventions, but has also won over detractors and others who fail to see the love and compassion of Christ in the Catholic Church. So, by taking risks he’s furthering God’s kingdom.

So, go out and start taking more risks in your faith. I think you’ll find it’ll strengthen your faith and increase your success in building God’s kingdom.