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disguising the “inner life.” June 9, 2008

Posted by peterong in Uncategorized.

i walked out of the apartment at 5:30 am and it was already 80 degrees as I got into the car. the heat was unbearable as i approached philly and made the turn into Westminster. it was hot. hot. hot. but to my delight, the classrooms are well air conditioned.

my first few hours at Westminster has already made me feel uneasy (not just the environmental heat but an internal friction) and it is not necessarily a bad thing. dr. ortiz stirred us to think that sometimes we are very happy in “darkness” because light jolts us and i reflected on my ongoing struggle with spending time in the mirror…here is my conclusion…

i have been in retreats of silence, i have spent focused time of meditation, i have been stilled on both walks on pavements as well as mountain stones, i have been guided retreats where doxology dances into solitude and focused listening. yet, somehow, i always remain with vacancy. i have been told that this time of solitude is one of great intimacy but i find that it is in conversation that i feel a deeper sense of god’s presence. it is not that i don’t like solitude with God. it is a discipline that i cherish each morning, each evening that i have a devoted of affection and seeking truth in knowing God but this depth of my inner life seems tragically shallow when i compare it to others. yet, i feel that i have plumed the depths yet i arise with no new missing treasure.

as i have conversations about “emotionally healthy spirituality” i wonder how much is this unpeeling has been upgraded to level of unnecessary complexity. is there something wrong with me if i can’t find shards of my brokenness. i feel that sometimes, i create these chronic paranoias about if i am not really going deeper. but how deep do i have to go? don’t get me wrong, i take caution and diligence in my pursuance of my depravity and my need for redemption but how deep do i need to go? how much is this a luxury of western christianity to create layers and layers of diagnosis.

so here i am…the first day of a week long intensive of seminary and already, i am confronted with a prick of discomfort and i wonder if the heat outside is somewhat a better alternative.



1. dengjosh - June 10, 2008

wow! Hope you get a lot out of that class…and meanwhile, don’t overanalyze tooo much 😉

2. peterong - June 10, 2008

thanks dengjosh, i appreciate your words. I just spoke in class today and expressed my concern that sometimes we create more pathologies with the call to introspection. thanks for your support and encouragement.

3. echai - June 10, 2008

Thanks for sharing, Peter!

Maybe I’m not understanding your sentiment too well but I wonder if our questions of “how deep do I need to go” is somehow a performance driven desire that we wrestle with too often? Maybe it’s just a matter of saying “I want to go deep with God” and resting in that desire to just be in His presence instead of wondering “how much is enough?” I have a feeling that we can ALWAYS go deeper and experience Him…. 🙂

4. peterong - June 10, 2008

dear esther, yes, I agree that there is a measure of performance…even in our level of humility we want to seek a pride in humility (ironic and sinister). I think you hit it on the nail…I just need to rest in the desire of being in his presence. to focus on the hope from my depravity…thank you for affirming a lot of what i was struggling with.

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