Friday, May 9, 2008

The Risk of the Unholy Neglect of the Soul

I've recently been reading James Houston's excellent essay, "A Guide to Devotional Reading," tucked away as an appendix to his fine book The Mind on Fire: Faith for the Skeptical and Indifferent, a collection of writings of Blaise Pascal.

In his essay, Houston writes, "This past century is possibly the first one in which action has been emphasized and valued more than contemplation. Today we do things. We think contemplation wastes time, produces nothing, and bumps awkwardly into our schedules. Devotional reading is a questionable priority for most successful people today."

Houston continues, "But are we 'successful' Christians if we are so busy organizing and propagating the Christian faith that we really do not know God personally--or intimately? Christian devotional reading helps us find intimate union with God. What is its motivation? To love God with all our heart, mind, and will" (p. 285).

I find Houston's remarks insightful and, more disconcertingly, personally convicting. If only we would all take the time to contemplate devotional writings, including God's Word, more regularly and more deeply. May it be so. If we don't, we run the risk of the unholy neglect of the soul.

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