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Controversial and Thought-Provoking Articles for the Savvy Christian

Nine Sacred Pathways to Worship God, Part II

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Monday

Savvy Article #1103

Here are three more ways to worship and connect to God from the book Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas.

4) Activism— Activists energize themselves spiritually through confrontation. I am consistently reminded that I’m an Activist when I become irate upon hearing of an injustice. I was writing with a friend, let’s call her Lavender Minsk, who was reading mail from an email loop. A man asked the loop about using four-letter words when writing Christian fiction and what were some good guidelines. Many people on the loop verbally crucified this man, not for anything he’d done, but for something he thought. He’d only asked a question.  He wrote back, apologizing to everyone and obviously shamed.I felt a sense of righteous indignation, and my thoughts went to emailing everyone back on the loop myself and defending this man. I realize now I must have an Activist’s mentality because the thoughts of Activists often run toward the defense of the weak. They feel intimacy with God when they fight for justice and righteousness.

Thomas warns that Activists must battle because God tells them to, and to leave the results to God. For whatever reason God calls the Activist to fight, if there is no obvious victory, he must rest in the belief that God knows what He’s doing. If you have this temperament, you must learn that justice is not more important than God himself, and that any belligerence will interfere with your intimacy with God.

5) Tradition— Traditionalists walk with God through ritual, symbolism, and sacrifice. To many, ritual leads to emotional torture—a wilderness of boredom and prayers such as “God, please make this … OVER.”

But, the Traditionalist is fascinated by the meaning of each act of ritual, and each symbol feeds his soul.

I have a friend, Kay, who invites me to an Anglican Church in Colorado Springs. She LOVES this church. It has fascinating communions, and splendiferous foot washings. Yes, I said “foot washings.”  These traditions float her boat, she says, because the clergy explain what each and every symbol means, and this touches her immensely.

Although Kay thinks of herself as more of a Sensate, her response to ritual is a strong indication she has Traditionalist in her too.

The foot washings are a type of ritual. So are liturgical prayers. Holiday celebrations are also filled with ritual. Lent and Advent come to mind, and now that I’m thinking about this, the Traditionalist holidays are rarely one day. They have whole seasons dedicated to one religious observance.

Symbols, rather than restricting us to religion alone, are helpful reminders of whom we serve and whose Presence we live in. Thomas says that there are many Christians who could benefit from a cross or a fish sign on their dashboards to remind them that they are still Christians while driving. Traditionalists use symbols to remind them of God in church service and throughout their day.

When I think of sacrifice, I think of Lent—a whole holiday dedicated to self-denial. But lest you think that denial is designed to earn points in heaven, Thomas explains that letting go of things we love deepens the believer’s understanding of Christ’s sacrifice. Self denial’s purpose is to make us humble rather than proud.

Kay observes Lent every year, and derives spiritual growth from it.

Me, not so much.

6) Asceticism— Ascetics draw strength from solitude with God and from simplicity. They like to engage in austerity and strictness. As opposed to the Naturalist, when they take solitude, they prefer no sensory stimulus—meeting God in a wasteland rather than a garden.

They get their kicks from hardship—poverty, isolation, and yes, vows of chastity are not uncommon, as well as fasting, weeping and lamenting. Nuns and monks are obvious ascetics, and, not surprising, John the Baptist. I suspect that many missionaries are ascetics.

If you love living in the dessert, could easily live on roots and grubs, don’t care what your bathroom facilities look or smell like, and rejoice at living way below your means, you are an Ascetic.

I’m afraid of these people. :D

You may also like: Nine Sacred Pathways to Worship God, Part I, Part II, and Part III;    The Rewards of Listening; This is Killing Me! The Agonizing Effects of Shame vs. the Love of God

About The Author

Denise Miller Holmes
Denise Miller Holmes enjoys teaching biblical topics, and especially researching and communicating what Christians believe about the world around them. She sometimes turns established viewpoints on end. A graduate of the University of Southern California School of Journalism, Denise also has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, and has been a Christian for over 35 years. She belongs to the writers’ groups Words for the Journey and American Christian Fiction Writers.


6 Responses to “Nine Sacred Pathways to Worship God, Part II”

  1. Kay Day says:

    I’m going to have to read this book!
    I identify with several of these, so far. The Traditionalist, certainly. The Sensate, yes. And also the Naturalist. I don’t know if I ever feel closer to God than I do on a mountain or a quiet beach.
    I’m not sure which of them is strongest in me.

  2. Jan Parrish says:

    I wish I was an Asceticism. I’d be flying on a spiritual high right now. Mother Teressa must have been one. My MIL is a Traditionalist. That is so not me. I may have some activism in me too!

  3. DB says:

    I see there is no mention of dance. This is the way I worship God.

    It’s also mentioned in the Old Testamont as well as being acceptable.

  4. Berney says:

    Thanks for the list, I am trying to find my path as well!

  5. DB: Thanks for your comment. You are right, I haven’t covered what Gary Thomas says about dance, YET. Dancing is an act of celebration, and that is done through Enthusiasm. I’ll be covering that next week. Come back for Part III and see!

  6. Lucille says:

    You made this so easy to understand. I love the way you word things Denise.

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