Too Many Frosted Flakes, Not Enough Bacon
I’m writing this as something of an expansion on something that I brought up in an earlier post (When theological rubber meets a very real road). A topic called being “heavenly minded”.
I have known several people (coincidentally, people that I told I was going to pray in the middle of the night and needed support from) that have warned me against being “So heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.” The problem is, what IS heavenly minded actually all about? If being heavenly minded is searching the scriptures to find God, since when is getting a deep root in the love of God a bad thing? Some of the brightest lights of the church in the “dark ages” or, more correctly, the “Middle Ages”, would spend 20 years in solitude praying and studying the scriptures to gain some of the biggest revelation and most powerful ministries of church history.
St Francis of Assisi (The “preach the gospel and if all else fails, use words” guy) spent so much time pouring over the heart of God in the Bible that when the Pope of the time told St. Francis “No longer can we say, ‘silver and gold have we none’.” Francis looked the guy dead in the eye and said quite level headedly “Niether can we say ‘arise and walk’.” The weight of his words pierced the Pope to the point that he knelt and kissed Francis’ feet.
Bernard of Clairveaux had more power than many kings on the earth at his time. Largely due to the fact that the monk from France had spent so much time in prayer and fasting that he could contact kings and literally stop wars with the words of his mouth. At one point, the Catholic church asked Bernard to move from the Father of his home Monastary in Clairveaux, France to become Pope of the church. Bernard had the humility to decline, name a disciple that had been with him to be Pope and coronate the man himself. Why did he decline? Because he wanted to spend focused time with no one other than God.
I do not even tell the story of Bernard to say that we are to reject position or influence when it is given to us, rather, I tell the story to illustrate that there is sacrifice required to have a wholehearted pursuit of God. Myself, I am giving up what many would call a “normal life”, if even for a little while… Hey, I stay up all night and pray, rather than sleeping at night and hanging out with people during the daytime. I do not claim perfection in any area… in fact, I’m more identifying with St Paul when he called himself the “Chief of Sinners”. May God forgive me of my sins, though they are many… yet praise be to the Bishop of Men’s souls who has not given up on me, and continues to pull me back from the edge of disaster.
This is not an endorsement of all the “Christian Mystics” various theologies. For example, Theresa of Avila believed that beauty was a sin… which is anything but Biblical. This IS, however, an endorsement of their lifestyle. I would argue with many that if you are TRULY “heavenly minded” you will be more earthly good than any high-powered CEO ever could be on his own stregnth. The question to be answered is, what qualifies as being heavenly minded? Paul said that Moses, Abraham and all the Jewish forefathers were “seeking a country” (some translations say City, which I would take to mean the New Jerusalem, but that is just me). In light of this, here is my question… do you have a vision for Eternity? What will you be doing in eternity, when year 5,000,000,000 clicks around? One of the tenets of the teaching to be found in premillenialism is that you will be rewarded according to your faithfulness in your earthly life. If this is so, then what is our vision for eternity, and what are we doing to achieve that goal? Bonhoffer saw it as his mission to stand against Hitler and protect the Jews of Germany during the Holocaust, as a means to an end of being faithful in this life. Many in the Union saw fit to help escaping slaves in the Civil War as a way to remain faithful. St. Anthony of Egypt saw praying for 20+ years in the desert as his way of being faithful to God. This what I am talking about when I say “heavenly minded”. May God reveal to me a correct view of eternity… my life now depends on it.
P.S., the title is a referrence to when the writer of Hebrews mentions milk and meat in terms of spiritual stuff… hope it makes more sense now