We were on our way to Walmart last weekend. About a mile from there I changed lanes as if I was planning to turn right. That’s because I was. Target was on the right about a half mile away, but Walmart was on the left further down the road. We almost always go to Target. I had gone into auto pilot mode and Vanda knew it. She reminded me, “We’re going to Walmart.”
My first thought was to respond, “I know,” but after sixteen years of marriage, I’ve learned my lesson. She knows me too well.
I almost never get lost going to places I’ve never been. But I will go the wrong way when I don’t have to think about where I’m going because it’s somewhere I’ve been many times. I’ll give my mind a break and start thinking about things other than navigating to my destination. It’s particularly bothersome on the highway. The signs are right in front of me, but I miss them because I’ve stopped looking for them.
I’m still reading that Richard Foster and Gayle Beebe book Longing for God. It’s not that I have to persevere through it as a project. It’s because there is so much in it that I have to take time to absorb what I’m reading. That’s why I’ve never read the Bible in a year. When I’ve tried, I’ve felt like there was too much stuff I was passing by that required more consideration.
I’ve just read their chapter about the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius. They are ancient writings that appeared on the scene of history in 532 A.D. that had been credited to a guy named Dionysius, but later they were proven to be written by a group of men. The writings include a funny word that describes a certain kind of theology: Cataphatic.
Cataphatic theology is
. . . incarnational theology; it is seeing how God uses everything in the created order to mediate his presence to us. This means that every part of our spiritual life matters. Our participation in the church, our personal experiences of God, our corporate disciplines, the way we see the hand of God in nature, our understanding of Christian doctrine, even language and the way it is formed becomes a vehicle for helping us understand our life with God. (p. 240)
The signs God provides for directing our spiritual journeys are everywhere. If we don’t snap into autopilot along the way, we’ll be sure to see them.
When nature is mundane, you’re not paying attention. When Jesus doesn’t get a second thought on Mondays, you’re following your own directions. If being engaged in the Christian Community you’re a part of is optional, you’re running on autopilot – and you’re bound to steer for the wrong destination.
Okay, so we ended up going to Kohl’s (which is right next to Target) where Vanda got a really good deal on what she was looking for. It was a successful hunt even though we didn’t end up where either of us were headed.
Pay attention on your spiritual journey. God wants to guide you along the way. If he does, you’ll end up in a far better place than if you go it on your own.