5 Things You Need To Take A Break From To Avoid Spiritual Burnout

5 Things You Need To Take A Break From To Avoid Spiritual Burnout May 1, 2015

pensando en el futuro

Yesterday on the blog I wrote about how I had spent much of this winter suffering from spiritual and emotional burnout, and that I had a hunch I wasn’t alone. Judging from your comments and emails, it turns out my instinct was correct- a lot of Christians are feeling burned out these days. As part of my own process in sorting out how I got to such a dark place, and from the wonderful insight and advice from many of my peers, I was able to identify some behaviors that I absolutely, positively, needed a break from– because that was the source of my burnout.

As I processed this further, I came to realize that even Jesus himself was aware of the potential for spiritual burnout, and made a practice of taking steps to prevent it. Jesus was on a mission to change the world, and the key avenue he chose to do it was through pouring his heart and soul into a small group of 12 friends while simultaneously kicking up against the walls of the dominant power structures of his day. I can only imagine that this led to moments of fatigue and discouragement, since scripture affirmed that Jesus was tempted in all the same ways that we are tempted. So what did Jesus do to avoid spiritual burnout?

Well, it seems that Jesus had built into his life a habit of getting away from whatever things existed in his life that could have led to spiritual burnout. In the book of Luke we find a very important statement:

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray.” (5:16)

I personally really like the rendering of the International Standard Version of this verse, which words it: “However, he (Jesus) continued his habit of retiring to deserted places and praying.”

While there is a host of good stuff one could glean from this verse (such as the aspect of prayer which is not covered by this post), what I appreciate the most is that Jesus knew when he needed to take a break from some things. And, if even Jesus– the Son of God– had to take a break from life-draining things, why would we buy the lie that we can chug along indefinitely without taking a break ourselves?

While I can only guess what sorts of things Jesus needed to take a break from, I think I have a much better grasp of some things that led to my own spiritual burnout, and perhaps did yours as well. So, here is a tangible list of things that I think we need to take scheduled breaks from to help avoid another bout (or come out of your current state) of spiritual burnout:

1. Things that make you angry.

Speaking of money, the Bible says that it makes a good slave but not a very good master. I think the same thing could be said of anger– when it consumes us it masters us, and it makes a horrible master. If there’s a certain topic or issue that is constantly making you angry, take a break from it– in our era of outrage and culture wars it is likely that there will never be a shortage of things to piss you off… so just take a break from the things that fuel your anger.

2. Situations, roles, or people that/who only drain but never replenish you.

Your emotional tank isn’t any different than a bank account– there is a limit as to how much you can spend before things go really bad. Remember: Jesus is the savior of the world, you are not. Yes, let us invest in changing the world and building the Kingdom- but if even our king himself takes a break and steps away for quiet moments where no one is draining him, why would we think we should live differently?

3. Things that worry you.

Jesus warned us that not a single person has added a minute to their life by worrying- but yet we do it anyway (I myself am especially good at this). One way to address it is by a more holistic approach to sabbath keeping: for myself, I’ve been trying to practice “no work, no commerce, and no worries” on the day I practice sabbath keeping. What’s the thing that worries you most? Set aside one day a week where you purposely do nothing about it and do your best to avoid thinking about it.

4. Social media/the comment section on some blogs.

Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with some great readers- but this isn’t the case everywhere on the internet. The comment section in many places can be one of the most toxic environments on planet earth. If there’s a certain place on the internet (or a certain person on the internet) where reading and engaging the comment section is making you question the future of humanity– take a break and don’t go to that particular blog or comment section. Or, you can even use the “unfollow” option to remove toxic people from your FB newsfeed without the more obvious gesture of unfriending them.

5. Being in-doors.

When Jesus withdrew to take some space, he did it outside. I think far too many of us are cooped up in cubicles and need time in nature like Jesus did– plus, there are tremendous health benefits to exercise, and even some vitamins you can only get through sun exposure outside. For me, I realized that I started to turn the corner as spring hit and we started taking the dog for walks by the lake. Whether you live in the country or in the city- find a way to get outside, go to a park, or even just go for a short daily walk around the block– but get outside and take in some fresh air, because that’s one of the things Jesus did.

I think in some ways seasons of spiritual burnout is inevitable, but I think there are some concrete things we can do both to avoid it, and to pull out of it. These five things were crucial to helping me begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What about you? What frequent practices have you found to be helpful to your emotional and spiritual health?

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  • Michael Moore

    Well said, my friend, well said… I can relate…

  • Andy

    I like all of these ideas. I would like to try them, but I fear a few of them might be difficult. I’m not very good at detachment, even though I know it can be good for me. But I’ll try.

  • Jerry Lynch

    If I weren’t so realistically worried and angry over the state of our nation and the world and did not have to correct and rebuke so many of the wayward on the internet daily, a little R&R would sound tempting but that would seriously damage my schedule for saving the world. Oops, this break is too long. Gotta run. God bless your vacation from the fight.

  • Mary Hanner

    I know what you’re saying, but even a Sherman tank has to stop and refuel once in awhile.

  • VisionaryJax

    Great insight, Ben Corey. Be gentle with yourself. Your readers love your passion and your writing, so feel affirmed and stay strong. As for what works for me in avoiding burnout: it’s all Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. As long as I can steal away with him for 15 or 20 minutes every morning, as long as I can get off alone with Him when things get tough, I know everything will come right. Not every situation in my life or my world will be exactly as I might want it, but I will know I am exactly in the center of His hand and heart, so I will be OK. You too!

  • lisa

    Sleep. I love to take naps. Within those naps are a twilight stage right before I drift off where I am praying and feeling enveloped in God’s love. Sounds a bit corny but it works for me. Gardening. I read an article that says that some components in soil actually increase mood, (http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jul/raw-data-is-dirt-the-new-prozac) as well as a grounding state that sends electrons through your body, again healing your physical system. As a regular contemplative, I am a loud mouthpiece for meditation. It has changed my life, not the fancy shmancy, do all these different things with your eyes closed, meditation, but the sit and observe your thoughts in silence kind. So cleansing.

  • paganheart

    Big fan of naps and meditation here too….as someone with chronic physical (lupus and asthma) and mental (anxiety and depression) heath issues, both practices are essential. On days when my physical stamina is low, a 15-to-20-minute nap can work wonders (even if I have to escape to my car during my lunch break to do it!) Meditation helps manage my anxiety-driven “monkey mind,” though I have found that it can actually make my anxiety worse if I don’t combine it with a strong dose of self-compassion. (There are a lot of good books about self-compassion out there.)

    Also absolutely essential for me in preventing and healing burnout: Music. I’ve been a choral singer much of my life and currently sing in the choir of an ELCA church. I can walk into rehearsal feeling physically, mentally and spiritually drained and come out feeling alive and revitalized; in fact there’s research that singing is great for your health. (http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/16/singing-changes-your-brain/) Choral and classical music are essential to helping me wind down at the end of the day; on the other side of the coin, putting on some loud, heavy music and tackling a long put-off project (like clearing out a closet) helps me get my aggressions out and gives me a sense of accomplishment, even when I pay for it physically later. That’s critical on those days when I’m losing faith in humanity and feeling like I’m going nowhere in every other area of my life.

  • Ragnhild Nyström

    I agree, especially on the one about in – doors and out-doors. I think daylight is very good. Some Sundays I just go walking near a bird sanctuary instead of going to church. I can’t understand how churches can decide to build new church buildings without windows. I

  • Angela Vertuccio

    Yes, solitude is a friend not to be neglected and worry is one I wish didn’t know me. Peace be with you.

  • lisa

    Definately music is good for the soul! I sing in my church’s choir as well and I consider it an important part of my meditative practice.I completely relate to the healing singing can be. I have grown a love for contemporary Christian music over the last few years which really takes me to such a different place when I can put those headphones on and sing praises while doing housework etc..

  • doing arts and crafts, singing, improvizing on the piano is good to be in the ‘ZONE!’

  • geez i’m so on same page w you paganheart! Only my deal is type two diabetes. It takes disipline and knowing how to maintain multiple complex boundaries to stay on top of my diseases any one of which could kill me! But, you know, when I am weak…!

  • Those are all good suggestions, as far as they go, but they are merely “things to avoid.” Yes, it’s important to withdraw for a time, like Jesus did, but with the purpose of being renewed *so that we can re-engage*.

    I think one of the biggest problems with the American church today is that we don’t know how to resolve conflict. All we know how to do is cut off from people and situations that upset us. I think the previously posted “5 Reasons So Many Christians Are Feeling Burned Out” were right on, and one could argue that the inability to resolve conflict in a healthy way is at the root of all five things.

    A good way to start going beyond mere withdrawal is to pray for God’s blessing on those that are making us angry. This is not only Jesus’ example for us, but also a direct and repeated command. Praying for the people who upset us not only helps to heal our attitudes (turning anger in compassion) but also can help us to discern what steps we should take to help them (whether that means apologizing for our role in the problem, or challenging them in a spirit of love and gentleness, or even just doing something extra kind and loving for them that has nothing directly to do with the situation that makes us angry).

    Unfortunately, forgiveness as a way of life is extremely counter-cultural, to the point where I think most Christians don’t even know what it looks like and have no idea where to start.

  • Jerry Lynch are you being sarcastic?

  • Thank you for your community, for your taking the time to read our comments and occasionally respond. This is one community where I feel welcomed and listened to. I can’t tell you and everyone else how much that means to me. I come back and comment because this place is soul filling. I don’t feel so alone as I sort out my life.

    As I said before I think taking the eucharist regularly helps with spiritual burn out. This also reminds me of how powerful healing services can be. I’ve seen some amazing, quiet miracles of healing in my life from having someone lay their hands on me and pray.

    It’s really amazing how often the gospels say Jesus took off to pray by himself. In fact he’s running from the crowds regularly.

  • Yes, yes, yes Praying for God’s blessing on people who anger us is powerful because it can rewire our brains and send goodness into the world.

    What you say here is so wise, “Praying for people who upset us not only helps to heal our attitudes (turning anger into compassion) but also can help us to discern what steps we should take (whether that means apologizing for our role in the problem or challenging them in the spirit of love and gentleness or even just doing something extra kind and loving for them that has nothing to do with the situation…) (I wrote this again to remember it.

    And thank you for saying forgiveness is extremely counter cultural. Yes.

  • Trev

    I do think that prayer should be for most in preventing or alleviating spiritual burnout (and I hope there is a future post in this) so barring that, my suggestion for this topic will be engaging in challenging spiritual reading. Practice Lectio Divina or read a spiritual classic. I just finished Spiritual Combat by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli. A brilliant work that teaches methods of perfection of one’s will and complete dependence on God along with distrust of the self.

  • Christopher Bond

    As a professor, this is one of the most poignant things I have read in a while. It seems like we are under a spiritual/emotional attack in both our personal and professional lives. While we seek help and answers many times from external sources, we need to STOP and seek Him–your post clearly outlines this and states what we need to do: stop, pray, turn-off, silence. It is so hard to do with the workf and family demands, but we must find the physical and mental spaces to be with Him. Through Christ, we will seek and find the calmness and spiritual connectedness that we seek.

  • I was talking it over w my mate tonite & I got a word that we as a church of individuals at different times in our lives carry both christ w in & john the baptist. John validates
    the ‘word’ as he recognizes it by the holy spirit’s inspiration & jesus is introduced by the crisis & circumstances as power to escape, heal and recover from empire systems. Thus
    my understanding of ‘he is the way’ & as I am ‘in christ’ I am now in the world as he was
    in the world to heal & open the way by my life being both witness & help to others who
    seek healing & recovery and as john as one who validates & recognizes the presence & work of the holy spirit in others who are comming into christ and doing the ‘works’ of the loving good god. The crisis is now. The circumstances are a predictable pattern of empire betrayal, abuse & abandonment. Backs against the wall?

  • “Well, it seems that Jesus had built into his life a habit of getting away from whatever things existed in his life that could have led to spiritual burnout… I personally really like the rendering of the International Standard Version of this verse, which words it: ‘However, he (Jesus) continued his habit of retiring to deserted places and praying.'”

    I have read that text passage plenty of times before but I had never seen it like that! Thanks Ben. I learned something new today. Now that I have come to think on it, the Celtic Saints of old, such as St Columba who would go out to the ocean and with the birds and fishes for morning prayer; or a host of others Gaelic saints — It all makes sense now. At least to me. They went out into nature (God’s creation) to unwind and recharge. St Columba intuitively knew that to get away from distractions, sometimes, we must get away from each other, if only for a little while! I never would have thought that sometimes our ministry is to just take a break and to sit back, relax and to see how we are all connected. How we can draw strength from that!

  • James McClymont

    Isn’t it amazing that you can give advice about things “spiritual” when you can’t even give the term a meaningful definition?

  • hersheythecat

    One thing that helps me is to listen without taking an opinion personally; and if I’m taking it personally, then reflect why I’m doing so, rather than ruminating on the opinion itself.
    Another thing is love of animals. When the human world becomes too much, the love of an animal really helps remind us that He is a loving God.

  • nabil89

    It always helps me to read at night before sleeping. The Bible, a devotional, a fun book (Game of Thrones), and even if I only read for 15 minutes, it is a relaxing exercise after a day of running around doing things.

  • Mary Cassidy

    One practice that helps me immensely is gratitude. I write in a journal every morning and walk most mornings and say prayers of gratitude in both. I have been blind in one eye since I was three, so am hyper aware of how blessed I am to see, which leads me to all the other senses and to be able to walk and live in the country and, well, there is never enough time to say thank you for all the myriad of blessings I enjoy.

  • reconstructorofworlds

    Very timely…I’m currently in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and one of today’s changes was to show exactly this, Jesus attempting to get away by himself and being exhausted by friends dragging him back into the crowd.

    Also, I realized I really need to go on a solo God-hike at the next available opportunity.

  • That number 4 is exactly why I no longer comment on certain sites I used to frequent – both Christian and non. And number 5 is one I keep thinking about but never doing anything about. I think part of the reason is that I just feel like I’ve got nowhere to go that doesn’t involve a long drive first. You wouldn’t expect that living out in a rural area like I do, but that’s how it feels. I can either take a very short walk around the neighborhood, go bushwhacking through the woods behind the house, or go take a long drive to get to a place with decent space for walking.

  • Yonatan

    For a short while I prayed to God to heal me body, mind, and soul. This now has unfolded into something else that is quite extraordinary, or maybe ordinarily exquisite would be a more apt description. I am not a Christian so I shall spare you with describing what direction this has currently taken me. But keep in mind that every religion, every spiritual path has many different names for the ineffable. And John 14:2 comes to mind that in “my Father’s house are many mansions.”

    Centering prayer is helpful. Centered sitting or standing or laying down calmly allowing the mind to grind to a near halt, one finds an inner tranquility to witness that which resides outside of time.

    But how does one deal with acedia?

    The only advice I had found has been simply to accept and carry on with the day. Even the motions of work, chanting, prayer, and contemplation though seemingly empty have merit and we endure until this vapid and pathetic and oppressive feeling abates.

  • Yonatan

    Rather than detachment which sounds contrived as a vain attempt to anesthetize feeling just let go. Don’t rate yourself as being good or not very good at it. This is not a task or a project with a goal in mind. It is, however, about surrendering which is a lifelong discipline.

    Here is a story from my own background:
    A rugged man of forty with big calloused hands from turning soil, planting seeds, and pushing a plow was standing by a stream. At an impulse, he picked up a smooth and rounded stone from the stream bed. After examining it for awhile, it slowly dawned on him that just as it took eons of time for the water washing over this rock to smooth it, it was possible that he an illiterate peasant could study in the academy and eventually perhaps over the remainder of his life become learned.

    He asked is wife leave which was granted and studied in the academy first with children who were like catechumen beginning to learn the rudiments of their religion. After ten years of continuous study, this unpolished, rugged farmer became one of the leading theologians of his day. He was eventually martyred and is revered as a great teacher.

    When all goals fade away and no end is in sight, just being near God suffices. We fade in and out of this. Gently the mind regains its attentiveness only to lose it again. We are like the tide that ebbs and flows. Our attention is like water that slips through our fingers. But our hands are still wet.

  • Jack Beans

    Thank you for the insightful post. Teaching Sunday school every Sunday, leading a small group on Saturdays, leading church service every two weeks, my oh my. I am so drained. How long can I go on like this?

  • Realist1234

    Sorry, but you have misunderstood Jesus’ words. He was not saying ‘all religions lead to God’, far from it. I would encourage you to look to Jesus in your quest for spiritual reality. As he said about Himself, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. Noone goes to the Father but by me’. Please consider Him.

  • Realist1234

    I understand from Tim Rice that this musical was written from Judas’ point of view, and yet again tries to paint Jesus as ‘just a man’. If you are a Christian, I wouldnt get involved.

  • John Powell

    I like them all, and need to do one or two of them. Good stuff.

  • Yonatan

    He was speaking to his disciples. And yes He is the Way and the Truth and also the Life. But this does not preclude any particular form of expression of the Truth.

    Actually, there is no way. The spiritual life is likened to an open plain of sand where one’s footsteps are promptly erased by the wind. And yet we require some frame of reference to anchor our feet. This is the paradox of the Absolute and Contingent — two poles one reality. He is that plain of sand.

    It is beneficial to be orthodox — to make one’s way as the only path while firmly grasping on to its guardrails to keep one steady and capable of meeting the vicissitudes of life. But there are many orthodoxies.

  • gimpi1

    These are all good ideas. Except (for me) choral singing. I’m not cruel to inflict my singing-voice on the world at large. In fact, my birthday-present to almost everyone I know is that I don’t join in on the “Happy Birthday” chorus. Anyone unfortunate to have heard me sing sincerely appreciates my gift…

  • gimpi1

    Boundaries! Boundaries! Boundaries! RA sufferer here. I keep strict boundaries on what sort of commitments I’ll take on, how much sleep I need (a lot), what sort of work I can do. I’ve alienated a few folks by refusing their invitations or suggestions, but that’s better than winding up in a flare that may destroy more joints.

  • gimpi1


  • otrotierra

    I’m afraid to say that the past 2 to 3 blog posts at Red Letter Christians have hit an all-time low. The frothing vitriol is even worse than when you frequented, if you can believe it possible.

    I don’t blame you for leaving Red Letter Christians, but I am disappointed they still refuse to moderate the comments section.

  • paganheart

    LOL I understand; my dear hubby can’t carry a tune in a bucket. :) My own singing voice is actually pretty mediocre; I am much, much more comfortable singing while surrounded by other singers then I am singing all by myself. They say human beings fear public speaking more than they fear death; personally I fear singing a solo more then I fear public speaking (or death for that matter!) But nonetheless, choir definitely helps me maintain my hold on sanity. Reading and spending time out in nature (as several others have mentioned) are very helpful as well….and both things I need to do a lot more of…

  • Realist1234

    I disagree. You seem to have understood his words to be ‘I am a way, a truth and a life’, which is not what he said. ‘Noone comes to the Father except by Me’. Not anyone, including you and me. And actually, Jesus likened the spiritual life, ie entering the kingdom of God, to a narrow gate and road that lead to life, not a wide road which leads to ‘destruction’, which apparently ‘many’ take. I have chosen to believe Him and his words.

  • Yonatan

    Not even a road. But within the existential context of human life a narrow road is required. And yes, “No one comes to the Father except by Me.” And we hear this same voice in many texts and in many places. Only through Jesus and only through Lord Krishna is there life

    Mrityu ma amritam gamaya
    Bring me from death to the eternal
    from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad

  • Realist1234

    Strange that you say you accept Jesus’ words ‘Noone comes to the Father (God) but by Me’, but then contradict Him by saying ‘Lord Krishna’ is also required. Jesus is the ONLY way to God and spiritual reality, all other ‘ways’ lead to a dead-end, literally.

  • Widge Widge

    Hands up I followed you.
    Notice though certain decent articles on RLC never get any responses from certain sections of the Christian world. I assume their politics takes no interest in such articles e.g. adoption/foster caring for e.g. Next time an article on homosexuality/war/death penalty etc.. is posted You bet there will be 100’s of posts by certain sections of the Christian world.

  • RonnyTX

    I’m glad you mentioned RLC,as I’d not known of that group before. Might like to post there to,in the future? And in a way,I’m sort of glad to hear that they don’t moderated the comment section. Why? Because in the past,in some places on WebTV,I was told in so many words, that I would have to take some things out of my sig box there or I would be banned from posting. What things? Christian links,that were pro-gay.

    Another problem I’ve had. Reading in two or so Christian groups in the last few months and thinking to post in those;but then seeing if I did,I was supposed to only post using my full name. To that,I thought now way! For no way, would I trust some people on the groups I’m speaking of. Wouldn’t trust them enough,to give them my full name.

  • RonnyTX

    Mary,amen to that! :-) And when I sometimes have found myself feeling a bit sorry for myself,because I am poor by US standards,well,I’ve found it helpful to remind myself,that I am really rich,given the level of poverty of so many people in this world! It just helps me to think on and realize that fact. Keeps me from getting too poor,poor me about things! :-) Too,I like to think on and realize,that feeling sorry for myself,never solves anything! (ha) LoL

  • otrotierra

    Ronny, RLC has lost countless contributors and commenters alike due to their refusal to moderate the comments section. The matter at RLC is not related to the problems you cite. No, RLC allows its comment section to be littered with frothing-at-the-mouth, hate-filled vitriol. The hatred comes not from Muslims or atheists, but consistently from evangelical fundamentalists. I enjoy Benjamin Corey’s commentaries, and I equally enjoy Ben’s standards for adult dialogue and debate. Sure, he can’t look after every troll (on Earth Day one fundamentalist attempted to derail his commentary with false accusations of “Earth Worship!!!1!11!!!), but he generally does a great job. A model for others to follow.

  • otrotierra

    Widge, their deceitful, hate-filled strategies are well-documented in the RLC comment section. Predictable, and consistently hostile toward Jesus and those who dare to follow his teachings.

  • I think I’ve said it before, but I’m not entirely sure they can moderate the comments, at this point. This is all conjecture, but follow me here and see what you think.

    I use Disqus for my own blog (though it doesn’t get used much, because Tumblr users prefer different ways of responding), and only a moderator with sufficient moderating power can give someone else moderator privileges. As you are well aware, people with moderating privileges have been conspicuously absent on RLC for an incredibly long time. What I think happened is that the person who originally set up the comment section disappeared (for whatever reason) and never gave moderator privileges to anyone else. Which means that nobody else can get moderator privileges. And the only way to fix it that I can think of would be to completely remove the comments and then re-add them, and I’m not positive you can remove Disqus from your site without being a moderator.

    TL;DR: The way Disqus is set up, you need an active moderator to do basically anything, including adding new moderators. Which is probably why RLC doesn’t have any moderators. They’re essentially caught locked out of their own comments.

  • Yonatan

    The only thing required is that which the soul needs. There is only one Father. For each orthodoxy there is only one way — that way. But there are perhaps as many orthodoxies as individuals.

    The one and the many is a paradox around which philosophers cannot wrap their heads. “Hear O’ Israel, the Lord thy God, the Lord is One.” And yet there are many names and many ways meant for man in his present state of existence.

    May the Shechinah (Holy Spirit) open your eyes so that you may see that this is so. Your fidelity to the Bible is commendable. Your solid faith in Christ Jesus admirable. I honor the inner strength that you exhibit in your unwavering faith.

    But there are others who believe and know Him by other names and through other ways. May the Holy Spirit open your heart to know that all of us made in the Image of God have as our birthright ways of knowing and relating to Sat Nam in Gurmukhi language (the True Name) which is also in Hebrew as Hashem Yitborach (The Name be Blessed).

    El Melech Na’aman
    God is a faithful King

  • reconstructorofworlds

    I am a Christian, and honestly I think our director has brought up more seriously good discussion on the history of the times and motivations of the people involved than I have heard in church for a long time. Jesus Christ Superstar is all about questions.

    Judas legitimately wants to know. Is Jesus a man, or the Messiah? Judas’s actions are motivated by a lot of fear and uncertainty. And the show ends with the crucifixion not to paint Jesus as “just a man”, but rather I think to leave the audience asking the same questions. “Jesus Christ, who are you? What have you sacrificed?”

    If you want answers, this play is not for you. It’s not a passion play. And yes, there is potential for a bad director to misunderstand the point of the show and veer into mocking. But if nothing else, think about this: Jesus Christ Superstar gets even non-Christians to think and care about the fate of Jesus, if only for two hours.

  • RonnyTX

    Benjamin,I especially know the value of that being outside more and getting plenty of sunshine,etc. My,my winters here in NE Texas can get me down and yet ours are so much shorter and milder,as compared to where you live! I truly can not understand how you folks up north,take such long and cold winters! (ha) :-) Or as I tell my oldest sister,if you moved us up there,we Southerners would be frozen popsicles,before the first winter was even over! :-)

    And one thing I have here too,is a small farm my Mom left me,just two years ago. An old house on that,that I lived in from the time I was 10 years old. No insulation in those walls and several years ago it got to where I couldn’t afford to heat or cool that house. I got to where I heated mostly with just wood;but it took a lot of that and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep that up,as I got older. So,what to do? Well,I took an old,small shed we had out back and turned it into a nice little mini house! :-) Worked on that,as I had the money to. Got it nice and liveable and was there for a good while. Then just over a year ago,moved over here to my oldest sisters home. It’s been a very wet winter and early spring here,so I haven’t had much chance to keep up with some needed upkeep,on my own place;but I have done somethings,as I could. Need to do more;but also need to keep in mind,that I need to focus on small jobs. Several years ago,found that the best way to get things done. Just focus on a small part,get that done and then move on to the next small part. That way,I don’t become overwhelmed,with what needs doing and it simply makes me feel good/better,to see small progress. :-) And I just got down in the dumps some,for a number of weeks now,because it’s rained so much here and I couldn’t do much! (ha) Made me grumpy and all out of sorts! (ha) But onething that helped me,was when I simply started thinking of the years, that it has been so dry here! And thinking of those poor people in California,where they are having such a bad drought! :-( Thinking,they would love to have some of this rain,that I’ve been fussing and griping about,at times. (ha) :-)

    Gotta get back to my own place soon and get some more cleaning done there. Both in the old house,the mini house and the yard! But thinking too of the small pond there and how long it’s been,since I’ve fished there. Need to take time off, for that as well! :-)

  • RonnyTX

    I see what you mean and I can understand that. For I used to have my own group,when I was on WebTV. Had few rules,past treating others as you wished to be treated. But still,I had to ban a couple of people from posting in my group,simply because they were so full of hate and so hateful towards myself and anyone,who did not see everything their way. And not just speaking of normal hate and hatefullness;but the just full of it kind. Now that I refused for anyone in my group,myself included,to be subject to. Intense disagreement,fine;but not intense hate toward others.

  • Realist1234

    Asking questions is all very well but they may lead to incorrect answers, especially when works such as this paint a false Jesus from the one Christians know. I would suggest you read the review of this musical at this link: http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-Christ-Superstar.html .

    If this reflects the picture of Jesus and Judas being painted by this musical, then I wouldnt touch it with a barge-pole, as it tells lies about the real Jesus. I wouldnt want to be in Tim Rice’s or Andrew LLoyd Webber’s shoes when they face the Lord and try to explain themselves. I doubt very much if anyone has ever become a Christian due to the influence of this piece, unlike for example, after watching ‘The Passion of the Christ’ which portrays the reality of the Passion and Jesus. Many have reported conversions after watching this film because it speaks the truth of Jesus, unlike this musical.

  • Widge Widge

    Yes some worship the Bible and even equate pauls words equal to Jesus. Lunacy

  • reconstructorofworlds

    A couple of things about that review –
    1. “just a man” – Judas says that because he either is unsure, or thinks Jesus is going too far. Mary says it because she’s trying to work out how she feels about Jesus. It’s a different kind of love than she’s ever known before, and it’s confusing. Both of them are trying to reassure themselves.
    2. In the very Bible passage the review references, when Judas is complaining about the anointing, (John 12) Jesus says “Leave her alone. She has observed this custom in anticipation of the day of My burial. The poor are ever present, but I will be leaving.” The play words it a bit differently, but it’s the same basic scene (with a different Mary).
    3. Hosanna (entry into Jerusalem) – some of the things the review points out are nitpicks of staging. Crowds don’t usually burst into song on a daily basis!
    4. Jesus talks about “to conquer death you only have to die” because the crowd just doesn’t get it. They want him to be their king. He doesn’t go into resurrection because A. the play doesn’t and B. it’s a more powerful ending to the song.
    5. Lepers – there are alternate lyrics for this song. I don’t think it’s necessarily that no one is healed, it’s illustrating that Jesus wants to help them but is overwhelmed by the sheer numbers in the crowds. Many times in the Bible it says Jesus tried to get away from the crowds to be alone and pray. And some of the lyrics of the priests suggest the lepers were healed.
    6. Judas is conflicted. He does still admire Jesus as a teacher and friend, but he’s frightened. It’s still a big step to actually accept the money.
    7. Last Supper/Gethsemane/The Arrest – again, this is a play. Some things are exaggerated for dramatic purposes. Pilate is trying to convince the crowd that Jesus is harmless when he says “someone Christ, king of the Jews”.
    8. There is no resurrection because this is a play about questions, not answers. It’s Judas’s point of view, and he doesn’t know. Also, for drama. It’s not a passion play.

    I would argue that while a powerful film, Passion of the Christ has some dodgy theology. But sometimes, a film or play or novel can be a step on the way to knowing the real Jesus. Not everything has to be the final step. Sometimes you have be intrigued enough to start asking the first questions.

  • Great post, thanks. Personally I find it helpful to not take things – or myself – too seriously, to have a light-hearted approach to life, and to simply let things go. Not that I am perfect in this regard; even today I have replied to a perceived troll. But even that was light-hearted.

    Laugh, love, and live. Life in its fulness!

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    I like you!

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    I like your image of the path being the sand, the wind, one’s feet & one’s consciousness of it all. Somebody is generous to make them l think!

  • louismoreaugottschalk


  • louismoreaugottschalk

    Hi ronny! My fav blogs so far are: experimental theology, exploring the matrix, peter enns, zack hoag, mercy not sacrifice.

  • louismoreaugottschalk


  • Yonatan

    And the sand caresses the footstep that through its compassion makes way for the foot cushioning it by giving into to its weight. And then there is the wind.

    Where does one find the Maker of this?

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    I think some times one does not find bc one is already found and that reality is waiting to be busted out of denial of one’s ilusion that one has control of one’s life. the desire to be found came to me w a crisis. I slipped into marginal status and the panic I feel is a flair my spirit sends up into the void. I think giving it a name is irrelavant. What does it do for me?

  • reconstructorofworlds

    Side note: you’ll never get any answers at all- let alone the right answers- if you never ask questions.

    Really though, a lot of the problems the author of that review had are issues with staging, not inherently the play itself (the script is just a music book). The director has a lot of leeway with how to tell this story. Sometimes people do include a resurrected Jesus at the end. I encourage you to check out a few versions for yourself (but stay away from the 2000 movie, it’s awful). I prefer the original concept album and the 1970s movie…and the version I’m in right now.

  • Realist1234

    Oh dear, I watched the 1970s film version and thought it was dreadful. We clearly have different tastes!

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    The quakers say something abt this I think when they affirm there is that of god in everyone. I also think when one speaks outside of one’s orthodoxy heart to heart they affirm that one is speaking to the others condition. I think one is always included bc everyone who suffers, tries to process their pain & heal. I think healing invoves offering encouragement & the deep empathy that connects to others who are suffering.

  • reconstructorofworlds

    Now that I think about it, the movie grew on me the more I watched it. I do remember originally thinking that Ted Neely was a bit off-putting in how he’s not at all how I pictured Jesus (still isn’t, but then again I don’t know of any actor that would). And really, the more I study Jesus Christ Superstar and learn the lyrics, the more I like it.

    I suppose it’s kind of like the movie of Godspell. My introduction to that show was watching an excellent local production of the modernized version. By the time I saw the 1973 movie, I was already a fan of the play and had gained an appreciation for cheesy movies, so I love it (despite being very uncomfortable with clown ministry!) but I completely understand why someone else wouldn’t.

    Every version of Jesus Christ Superstar is going to be a bit different. There may be one out there that you’ll like. :D

  • Yonatan

    With hands together I find myself bowing.
    For some, assigning a name for this is relevant. They require structure. But others need no structure and thus this search for a name is irrelevant.

    Talking about names, I like your moniker. He was a fine composer. It is unfortunate that he lived a short life.

  • Yonatan

    Orthodoxy is just an address — a place from where one might greet the world. It becomes problematic when one is blind sighted denying this possibility to others. We all have our own ways and fall into a trap when we deny this.

    It is better not to think too much. It is also better not to say too much. Oops I have already done that.

    We tend to look upon silence as a form of separation, avoiding the question at hand by not responding.

    But silence can be a form of pure sharing with no words of enmity between us and no wall of words behind which to hide. Just this . . .

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    Golly! You are the first to notice. I thank richard rohr for the thot abt needing a container for the first years of faith. Jesus is still lord but now so much more than a name. I think if all one has is a name and an institution rules are followed and become the focus of worship then there is control. That’s fine for ppl who have never learned to be anything but self reliant. A meritocracy requires & approves a religion like that! If one’s abilities to pay are diminished or lost thru disability one finds out soon enuf who the god of the losers & nobodies is.

  • Mary Hanner

    If belief is all that God requires of us then we save ourselves. I believe we are saved by the grace of God, we are already saved, and we just need to get on with God’s work of bring a heaven on earth. What else does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ?

  • Realist1234

    We are indeed saved by God’s grace (a gift), which shows itself by faith, which in turn shows itself by ‘works’. And that grace comes from Jesus, not krishna or any other false, non-existent god.

  • Guy Norred

    Just in case you aren’t aware of this, I share louismoreaugottschalk’s opinion.

  • reconstructorofworlds

    Eh, maybe not. I finally re-watched the 1970s movie again for the first time after being in the show, and it’s really slow and weird now. I wish you could have come seen our version, I do think it’s the best version I’ve ever seen (and not because I was in it! We had a fantastic cast and crew). Our director had wanted to do this show for years, and is a minister’s kid, so he’s put a lot of serious thought into the show and the subject it’s based on. I think we managed to pull off his vision.

    So I guess my best recommendation of a good version of the show that’s widely available is the original concept album. But it’s an album, so you can’t see anything!

  • Steven Harrison

    These are excellent tips that I think anyone would benefit from, regardless of their condition or circumstance. I think if I did all of these things, I could relate it to some kind of spiritual surgery. However, I think your first tip is somewhat unavoidable. We’ll always run into things that could make us angry, but I think if we work on ourselves, we may not be so sensitive. http://www.heartflamehealing.com/success-and-healing-with-spiritual-surgery/