At the beginning of this year I was given a 1982 Fender Lead III guitar in near perfect condition! This was like a dream come true, because ever since I started playing guitar at sixteen I have wanted to learn lead guitar.
But, the name “Lead” on my guitar didn’t miraculously turn me into a rock guitar god. I’m still far from where I want to be as a lead guitarist, but I’ve noticed that when I take time to practice, intentionally, consistently, and with the help of tried and tested techniques and concepts, I start to sound better, and I begin to move a little closer to my goal of becoming a good player.
SPIRITUALITY AS PRACTICE FOR LIVING WELL
People sometimes ask me what I mean by the word ‘spirituality’. It’s a word that can mean so many things, but I have found it most helpful to think about spirituality as the work we do in order to be more intentional about living the best human life we can – a life that is meaningful and fulfilling for ourselves, while leaving the world a little kinder and more compassionate because of our presence in it. It is an intentional journey into being more creative, more alive and more deeply connected with ourselves, others, our universe, and God (however we may understand or relate to the Divine).
James K.A. Smith in his book Desiring The Kingdom, explains that at the heart of spirituality are “patterns of practice” – practices that we repeat over and over in order to develop habits that naturally enable us to live what we believe is our best life. In the same way that consistent, repeated practice of scales, chords, arpeggios, and other musical techniques lead me to become a better musician, so consistent repetition of spiritual practices lead us to become better people.
THE PRACTICE COURT OF LIFE
To offer another example; Serena Williams did not wake up one day and decide to win a Grand Slam tournament. No, she spent hours on the practice court:
- learning how to read the speed and trajectory of the ball;
- preparing her grip and stance to power the ball back over the net;
In the beginning her game was probably pretty ugly and ineffective, but after years of repeated practice, she is one of the most powerful and beautiful players in tennis.
Spiritual practice is like this. When we start, we are often incapable of adequately responding to the challenges and struggles life throws at us, and so we get:
- or destructive.
But, over years of repeated spiritual practice, we find ourselves better able to navigate the turmoil of living with:
- and peace.
AN ONLINE COMMUNITY FOR PRACTICING SPIRITUALITY
EvoFaith is an online spiritual community where we can support and challenge one another to be more intentional and consistent in our spirituality. It gives space for a wide variety of spiritual practices, but it will also offer some suggestions and resources for how to engage in intentional spiritual practice. Our free downloadable Advent resource is one example. In addition, in everything we do here at EvoFaith we believe that listening, curiosity, and mindfulness are essential qualities to bring into all our spiritual practices.
This is how we will be working with spirituality in the EvoFaith community. And you can start being part of the journey right away:
- By leaving a comment below: What spiritual practices have shaped how you live? What different spiritual practices (meaning, outside of the usual ones) have been helpful for you?
- Perhaps this week you would find it helpful to try one new practice in your life and see what impact it has on you.
- You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive more ideas and resources, or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or YouTube, or like our Facebook page.
- And a key to spirituality is sharing the love. So, if you know of anyone who would find EvoFaith helpful, why not invite them to join us too?
Over to you!
Discussion, robust debate, and respectful disagreement are encouraged. However, shaming, attacking, and trolling are not. Please keep the comments on topic, and kind. Any comments that violate this ethos will be removed.