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Archive for February, 2011

Tourist or Pilgrim?

I’ve been thinking about an item I read in a book by Eugene Peterson entitled, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

Peterson talks about our society being an “instant society,” in which we have been conditioned to believe things are quick and easy. He notes, “we assume that if something can be done at all, it can be done quickly…”

Sound-bite news, thirty second commercials, meals in 5 minutes, instant delivery of communications, have all resulted in our attention spans being conditioned for things to be done instantly and with relative ease.

A result of “instant society” culture can be the replacement of true relationship with Christ and seeking God with all our hearts, minds, and souls with “a tourist mindset.” Religion/worship becomes “a visit to an attractive site” for “religious entertainment and sacred diversion….We go to see a new personality, … get a new experience….”

We cannot achieve spiritual maturity with a tourist mindset. Nietzsche (of all people) wrote a great truth, “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is .. there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”

Paul described this “long obedience in the same direction” as pressing on toward “the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (see Philippians 3:12-15).

An antidote to this tourist mindset, Peterson reminds us, is to counter this with the “pilgrim mindset.” As God’s children, “we are people who spend our lives going someplace, going to God, and whose path for getting there is the way, Jesus Christ.” As such, we are disciples of Christ, growing in faith (and thus understanding and obedience) through our active, intimate, deepening relationship with Him.

So, are you a tourist or a pilgrim?

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