Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of Month Date, 2004
Wrestling with boredom is just natural
By FR. RON ROLHEISER, omi
"Don't travel with anyone who expects you to be interesting all the time!"
- Daniel Berrigan
Unlike the angels, we have been asked to move towards God and each other in time and history and through a physical body and a soul that naturally gravitates towards security, self-absorption, pleasure, personal achievement, and excitement.
I say this not as an excuse for mediocrity or lack of effort, but, as a protest for humanity so that we stop feeling guilty for being the way God made us. Simply put, given our God-given constitution, we will at times be bored in Church and pretty restless elsewhere and this doesn't mean that there's something wrong with us.
John Shea once said: "Nobody does Jesus real well!" He's right, though we're asked to try. But, in that effort, perfection can be the enemy of the good and an overly-idealized notion of how we should feel can discourage us because it can give us the idea that our innate humanity is itself delinquent: "I shouldn't be feeling this way!"
We need a liturgy, spirituality, theology, ecclesiology, and psychology of family and community, that take into account the fact that we do get tired and bored, that we are physical, bodily, sexual, wounded, pathologically restless, naturally paranoid, and incurably proud creatures who suffer obsessive heartaches and have mortgages to pay and deadlines to meet. We need to be given permission to be human, to feel what is in fact going on inside us.
God didn't make a mistake in making us. Likewise, God didn't fill us with powerful, creative energies (energies that often leave us bored in Church and restless at the dinner table) and then tell us it's wrong to feel so fiercely restless, sexual, ambitious, and distracted.
God didn't make us incurably social, tell us it's not good to be alone, and then express disappointment because we would sooner be with our friends than alone in prayer. God didn't make us insatiably curious and then demand that we blunt our enthusiasm for knowledge and entertainment. God didn't give us humour and lightness of spirit and then announce that heaven is going to be drab, grey and heavy.
God does not make mistakes, though we do, and one of these is that we too quickly feel guilty if we're bored in Church.
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