Receptive Spirituality: The Art Of Begging (Part 2)

The idea of begging goes against our American value system.  It also goes against our deeply ingrained idea of hard work within our capitalistic economic system.  John Kleinig says, "It contradicts popular religion and common piety.  Popular piety presupposes our unrealized spiritual potential; it seeks spiritual enrichment and empowerment through the practice of appropriate spiritual exercises.  In contrast to this desire for spiritual self-improvement and self-development, Jesus teaches that we begin, continue and end our spiritual journey with Him as beggars before God the Father, the heavenly King.  We do not, as we follow Jesus, become increasingly self-sufficient.  Rather, we learn, bit by bit, the art of begging from God the Father, until at our death we can do nothing by say, 'Lord Jesus, have mercy on me!'"

So what does this idea of being a spiritual beggar mean for us?  It means that this life of a Christian is one that is, "hard, yet at the same time easy..."  Think about this for a moment, it is hard because we, "take such great pride in our own achievements and self-sufficiency.  We do no like to ask God, or anyone, for anything.  Far better to do without than to become dependent on others!  Yet it is also easy because our spirituality does not depend on our performance but on our receiving from God.  No one is more or less spiritually advantaged."

In summary, we need to become like little children, helpless and dependent.  We are all beggars pointing others to where the warm bread is.  

Quotes above are from John Kleinig's book:
Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today (CPH, 2008), 29.    


Ron Voss said…
Pastor Matt,

I read Kleinig's book a year or so ago to get a Lutheran perspective on spirituality; so I appreciate this refresher.

The reference to "spiritual practices" above brings to mind such New Age practices such as centering prayer. Causes me to be uncomfortable with those who identify themselves as 'spiritual directors'.