“Discipline as Freedom”…

Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you’re not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned or counted on. Henri Nouwen

Meditation: To a native German, born in the “land of discipline”, the notion that “discipline means to create a space in which something can happen that you had not planned on” sounds paradox. However, Jesus used paradox thinking many times to liberate people from their fears and preconceived notions of how things are or should be. Usually for most Westerners, discipline means planning life efficiently and fully, so that no moment remains “idle”, “lazy” or “unused”. Henry Nouwen claims the paradox opposite: Discipline has freedom and meaning, when we are planning not to plan, when we structure free time – open to curiosity, and when we set aside time for “doing nothing” – as a time of discovering our and God’s very “being”.

Prayer: God, often Your name has been abused to justify rigid and strict living. The Church through centuries projected You into the sky as a strict “Super-parent” watching every step we humans make, assuring that we remain disciplined. Protestant work ethic was born out of this fear based projection. We are grateful that discipline can mean curiosity and freedom instead of rigidity and fear. Amen

 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

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