Spiritual Checkups

As I write this, I am sitting through a second day of nonstop rain. It is cool and damp and grey and gloomy. I don’t know how my friends in the Northwest do this. Oh, I know the forecast is for it to be clear and sunny in a couple of days, and I know that this time of year in Atlanta flowers and trees will be knocking one another down competing to be the most resplendent. Spring comes early in this part of the world, and it comes with fierce passion.

I know that the glory of the flowers is because of all the rain, but, as I write this, I don’t care. The rain is depressing, and I’ve had a sinus headache for two days. It also is that time of Lent when you are wonder why on earth you decided to fast or give up whatever you did. Today, you really feel the need for alcohol/chocolate/caffeine … or maybe all three. The self-righteousness you felt as Lent began has worn off, and all you are feeling is irritable … or is that just me?

Actually, you may not be feeling it today, but you have or will. Every spiritual devotion gets burdensome. Tithe long enough and, inevitably, you will begin to think of all the things you could buy with that money. Make a membership vow and it will seem that every bright Sunday tempts you to skip worship, or if you wake up and it’s rainy, well, forget it. Commit to study, pray, and read and the minute you start your eyes droop and sleep seems like an irresistible temptation.

If this is supposed to be good for us, why isn’t it easier? Why isn’t it more fun? Actually, I have to confess that I feel exactly the same way about exercise. I keep hearing all these buff queens talking about the buzz they get from a good workout, and I keep wanting to ask what drugs they are on. All I get from working out is sweaty. Well, that and good news at the doctor’s office. The doctor reports that my heart is strong and my lungs are clear and my cholesterol is good and, well, I haven’t gained any MORE weight.

Perhaps if we had spiritual checkups and the results were posted to our Facebook pages we might be a little more motivated. As it is, though, I’m ready for Lent to be over, and we’re not even halfway there. The way that red wine is good for your heart, why isn’t whining good for your soul?

by Michael Piazza
Center for Progressive Renewal


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