Just what is ‘balance’ in a spiritual community? The word ‘balance’ is not always perceived as a good word. For those who embrace ‘balance,’ they may have in their minds the need for security, keeping away from extremes or playing by the book. In a spiritual community there is a lot of validity in this outlook.
However, others when they hear the word ‘balance’ they shudder. For them, when they hear the word ‘balance,’ they thinking BORING! These people are the ones who will say if you want to get things done in this world you will have to take risks and maybe even be perceived as an extremist. Jesus was hated by the ‘balanced’ religious leaders of the day because he was viewed as extreme.
Now, the proponents of ‘balance’ as well as the opposers each have a valid viewpoint and to complicate things, GOD created us all differently. We are all wired to react in different ways to different situations and one person’s balance is another person’s extreme.
In a spiritual community (church) many people see the Christian life simply in terms of their journey with GOD. They spend time in prayer and study, they gather at church as long as it helps them with their connection with GOD. They are quite happy not to get involved in the lives of others. If we were to look at Christian history, a logical extension of this kind of lopsided Christianity was found in the monastic period. Then, life was spent in prayer and study, but the truth concerning evangelism, being the salt and light in our culture, and providing input and solutions to many of the problems the world was facing was conveniently forgotten. The irony is that many of those who practiced this monasticism have given us great insights on topics such as solitude, prayer, personal discipline, but one has to wonder if they failed in fulfilling the Great Commission?
Without question our relationship with GOD is highly important, yet it appears that our faith must always be connected to one another. Jesus talked about loving GOD with all our heart, soul and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves. So does worship lead to work? Does prayer lead to preaching? Does contemplation lead to community? The Christian life is not just about GOD, but it is about people as well! Where is the balance? The church is about worshiping GOD and loving people and from my personal experience the latter area is the hardest of all. Learning to forgive, and receive forgiveness, loving and serving and encouraging one another is what real Christianity is all about. Where is the balance?