Step 2 of the Twelve Steps: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
Coming to belief, coming to surrender, coming to faith, coming to Apprenticeship – these are all stepping-stones in the process of being “conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others” as M. Robert Mulholland puts it in Invitation to a Journey. Or as Eugene Peterson (borrowing a phrase from Friedrich Nietzsche) says, our journey with God is a “long obedience in the same direction.”
Richard Rohr, in his book Breathing Under Water, says that this journey involves our heads, our hearts, and our bodies. He says:
Mere mental belief systems split people apart, whereas actual faith puts all our parts (body, heart, head) on notice and on call, and offers us a new broadband station, with full surround sound, instead of a static-filled monotone. Honestly, it takes major surgery and much of one’s life to get head, heart, and body to put down their defenses, their false programs for happiness, and their many forms of resistance to what is right in front of them. This is the meat and muscle of the whole conversion process (p. 9).
What Rohr prescribes is a tall order: a life-long openness to the Holy Spirit and the cour- age to throw out whatever attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors do not match up to the life the Bible describes and Jesus modeled. Rohr goes on to describe ways to open our minds (contemplative or meditation practices which reveal our “fear-based system” and our “stinking thinking), our hearts (recycling our brokenness and healing our hurts from the past ), and our bodies (recognizing that the body and soul are one and eliminating ways that we repress and deny the body).
Our Apprentice class last night mourned the hard work andthe passage of time that are necessary to eliminate worrying and judgment from our lives and replace them with trust that God is in control of the world and the only One who can judge. And these are only two examples of “stinking thinking” that are part of the “fear-based system” that Rohr mentioned.
And yet as we come to believe and follow God, that Power greater than ourselves, we learn every day that surrender and acceptance are the tools that bring healing and whole- ness. Let us all live under the blessing of Paul to the Thessalonians: “May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you to- gether – spirit, soul, and body – and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ” (I Thess. 5:23 – MSG).