Listenings: Broader Life

The farther I go in the faith, the more convinced I become that “abundant life” is broader, not just deeper.  We often hear people talk about spiritual growth as “the deeper life,” and in many ways it surely is.  But this week, I want to propose that it not only has depth, but also breadth.

Salvation literally means “wholeness,” and as I look at the salvation offered by Christ and through him, I see it pertaining to all of life, not just the religious domain.  I believe that every aspect of our life is “enlivened” by the presence of the Risen Christ in it.  During his years on the earth, Jesus demonstrated an interest in a wide range of things.  In fact, his breadth was one of the things that got him into trouble with the religious leaders, who thought he was “too worldly” to be the Messiah.

Maybe that’s one reason I have enjoyed reading Joseph Girzone’s Joshua books (previously recommended in a “Connections” blog post).  Girzone depicts Joshua as someone full of life and interested in all aspects of it.  Joshua’s embrace of life and naturalness in life show that spirituality and humanity can go together.

As I move into my mid-60’s, one of the things I look back upon with the most regret is that I did not make this connection as early or completely as I should have.  My reading, my extra-curricular activities, my associations have been lop-sidedly “religious.”  I can drive through a God-created place of beauty missing too much of it because I am intent upon getting a new idea from a teaching tape in my car player.  I’m glad that I found St. Francis who said, “God is doing cartwheels in creation.”  I wish I had found him sooner.

I have no doubt that attending a “Deeper Life Conference” can do any of us a lot of good.  But I still hope that one of these days I’ll see an ad for a “Broader Life Conference.”  I’ll probably sign up, and I hope you will too.  In the meantime, remember that Jesus is as interested in your creation as your new creation.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Listenings: Broader Life

  1. Leslie Foos says:

    Thanks, Steve. I love Joseph Girzone’s Joshua books, too & find something new with every reading. Funny, I feel like I have lead a broader life, but a less “religious” one so I am looking for a deeper meaning to life these days. I look around & see the wonder of the creation and I know there is “a higher power” and it renews my faith, but I have a hard time determining what is “God made” & what is “man made” when it comes to religion itself. I’m looking for the deeper meaning so that I can follow God’s will rather than deciding for myself what I accept & what I don’t. I have a hard time decerning what is my will & what is God’s. Does this make sense? Just keep writing, Steve, your words always speak to me & make me think, pray & study.

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