Of Short Order Prophets and Their “New” Wares

I discovered an interesting link at Fide-O that reveals the growing trend of what I call “short order spirituality”:

We can get anything we want, from anywhere in the world, whenever we want it. That’s how it is and that’s how we want it to be. Still, our lives aren’t any different than other generations before us. Our time is. We want spiritual direction, but it has to be real for us and available when we need it. We want a new format for getting Christian perspectives. NOOMA is the new format. [Rob Bell of NOOMA]

Whenever someone claims to have something new, it becomes important to make a necessary clarification. Despite what Mr. Bell says, NOOMA is not new in the broader scheme of things. Clearly, the appeal for for a new format in spirituality is – not new:

Ecclesiastes 1:10 Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new?” Already it has existed for ages which were before us.

Despite Mr. Bell’s attempts to “repaint” Christianity, as he puts it, God’s ancient method of offering spiritual direction has always been found in the daily labor of hiding God’s Word in our heart (Psalm 119:11) and seeking Him in continual prayer (Ephesian 6:18). Such an approach to spiritual growth means having to live our Christian lives without a video screen. More than this, such an approach to spiritual direction means having to accept the Lord’s guidance in our lives on His terms, rather than on our own.

We are oftentimes impatient concerning the Lord’s leading in our life. Too many times we want the Lord to answer our prayers immediately, or for Him to give us a clear sense of direction concerning the choices we must make in our lives, when in reality, it is the Lord’s will that we learn how to wait upon Him for spiritual direction through prayer and by meditating on His written Word. In an impatient society which expects to receive things instantly and easily, the ideas of waiting upon the Lord, or working out our salvation with fear and trembling, are now passé. Many times we find ourselves seeking the Lord and needing to wait on Him, rather than getting a quick fix (Psalm 27:14); or even struggling over our despair and sorrow as we cry out to the Lord in prayer (Psalm 6:6). Such disciplines of the Christian life require active diligence and perseverance through the Spirit’s continued work within us. But in this microwave culture of ours, there are those who want to be able to set the timer and cook up spiritual maturity on demand. Such a short order spirituality is not new at all, but has existed for ages which were before us.

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