Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas
I’m a bit behind on my Gary Thomas reading. He’s one of my favorite Christian authors, the mind behind Sacred Marriage – a book that helped me get through some serious rough patches in my own marriage the RIGHT way (focused on God) and one I recommend to every married person.
In this space, this blog, you’re going to hear me talk endlessly about serving God 100%. We are put here in this vale of tears to bring glory to our Maker. I believe each one of us is on the journey of sanctification that won’t end until we meet Jesus face to face – but that the journey should be evident to those around us. You have something (lots of somethings, no doubt) to do in this life and so do I.
But there’s a LOT of work to do!!! We weren’t given the same tasks, we weren’t given the same tools. I see a lot of Christian women who get off track and start trying to imitate other Christian women rather than Christ. “This is the way to do Christian womanhood right”. You’re going to hear me yell about that a very great deal – it’s a damaging supposition and leads to frustration and hypocrisy.
So, to Sacred Pathways. Mr. Thomas discusses various ways of worshiping God and connecting to Him. Not only did this give me some light about my own best styles of worship, it gave me some light about the ways various churches in Christendom divvy up “how we do this”.
There is value in each way of worship, and there is danger in each pattern. Mr. Thomas discusses both. There is also value in humility – accepting the worship pattern of your church and not being judgy about it because it happens not to scratch your particular itch. (Adoration/repetitive chorus doesn’t do much for me, but it is the pattern at my church, and I love my church, so – I’m in).
Sacred Pathways got me into the head of people who worship God in ways that I don’t, and gave me a greater appreciation for them. It gave me the same thoughtful appreciation for different denominations and their patterns of worship, and shoved me out of the prejudicial attitude that “they’re not connecting like we’re connecting”. or “our worship is more reaaaaaaal”.
Sacred Pathways also gave me the opportunity to contemplate my own best ways to connect with God, and reminded me (if I needed the reminder) that I need to prioritize my “best practice” even though it doesn’t fit conveniently into my schedule. (I’m a naturalist – and sometimes it’s hard to get outside alone to be with God. Outside AND alone both being part of my prescription).
We try to make our relationship with Christ the same as someone else’s. And sometimes that is helpful (the discipline of study is never not going to be useful in knowing more about God) but sometimes it leaves us sitting there, wondering why we aren’t drawing closer to Him, why we’re not “experiencing” Him the way our siblings in Christ do.
Anytime we do that – anytime we try to follow in the feet of humans, instead of the feet of Jesus, we’re bound to fall off the path or break an ankle on a rock or something. I found Sacred Pathways helpful in offering me new ways to explore my relationship with Jesus, and I recommend it to everyone.