What is our focus?

What is our focus? Is our focus just on what we think is real – those things that are tangible, that we can touch? Is it on the relationships we have right now? Is it on a vision of the future? Is it on something from the past?

What I observe is that many people seem focused on earthly power. I’m using that term broadly, as a type of catch all. In a way this makes sense – we are in fact on earth after all. What is earthly power – it’s those things that give us a sense of control and identity – government, partisan loyalty, money, work, fame, influence, war, etc. We often have a focus on these things because they are part of our lived experience. But I wonder if they become something more – the things we actually believe in. The things that we see as actually real.

How real is our faith? Is it an afterthought? Is it just a compartment of our lives? Or is it more integrated?

Too often it seems that the spiritual is dismissed. It’s abstract, out there, non-tangible. We can’t really control it. We can only encounter it. And it’s not objective – it’s very subjective, which makes it even harder to get a hold of.

Too often we act as though the spiritual is something separate that we encounter – something separate from the tangible “real” world that we live in every day. I wonder if many people consider the spiritual something not quite real. And when it’s not quite real, do we diminish it so that we can have a sense of control over it? Often the spiritual becomes a personal private piety – something that doesn’t really have an impact on our lives, but can be contained. If we lower our expectations, then we have a chance of hitting them. And when we lower our expectations about the spiritual, I wonder if that is really about containing and controlling it.

Too many believe that the spiritual is separate from us – something that doesn’t occur until later, outside of our earthly existence.

When we make the spiritual separate, and small – we miss out on what it is. We miss out on it’s real impact – life changing and world changing. We aren’t just encountering the tangible world. The spiritual isn’t just somewhere else out there. It’s here, now. It’s right there in our hands, being offered to us. When we are encountered by it, it changes us. There’s no need to separate, no scarcity, no need for violence, no focus on toxic individualism. This doesn’t mean that everything is hunky dory.

I wonder if many dismiss the spiritual because they think that the spiritual is just like the tangible – that having more of it means having more of the earthly power stuff. I don’t think that’s what it means at all. When we are encountered by the spiritual, the need for all the earthly power stuff decreases and diminishes. It’s just not as important.

The spiritual isn’t out there somewhere – it’s here now. The Kingdom of God isn’t out there somewhere in the future. It’s here now. Discipleship isn’t for sometime in the future. It’s for now. Peace isn’t a destination. It’s here now as a way of being. The spiritual isn’t separate – it’s part of the whole. It is Shalom.

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