Ten Major Faith and Church Struggles of Our Time

May 2, 2012

Ron Rolheiser put together a list on “What are the ten major faith and church struggles of our time, at least as manifest within the more highly secularized parts of our world?”  I thought he captured the faith struggles of our current world pretty well. What do you think? 
1)     The struggle with the atheism of our everyday consciousness, that is,
the struggle to have a vital sense of God within a secular culture which, for good and for bad, is the most powerful narcotic ever perpetrated on this planet …  the struggle to be conscious of God outside of church and explicit religious activity.
2)     The struggle to live in torn, divided, and highly-polarized
communities, as wounded persons ourselves, and carry that tension without resentment and without giving it back in kind … the struggle inside of our own wounded selves to be healers and peace-makers rather than ourselves contributing to the tension.
3)     The struggle to live, love, and forgive beyond the infectious
ideologies that we daily inhale, that is, the struggle for true sincerity, to genuinely know and follow our own hearts and minds beyond what is prescribed to us by the right and the left … the struggle to be neither liberal or conservative but rather men and women of true compassion.
4)     The struggle to carry our sexuality without undue frigidity and
without irresponsibility, the struggle for a healthy sexuality that can both properly revere and properly delight in this great power …  the struggle to carry our sexuality in such a way so as to radiate both chastity and passion.
5)     The struggle for interiority and prayer inside of a culture that in
its thirst for information and distraction constitutes a virtual conspiracy against depth and solitude, the eclipse of silence in our world … the struggle to move our eyes beyond our digital screens towards a deeper horizon.
6)     The struggle to deal healthily with “the dragon” of personal
grandiosity, ambition, and pathological restlessness, inside of a culture that daily over-stimulates them, the struggle to healthily cope with both affirmation and rejection … the struggle inside of a restless and over-stimulated environment to habitually find the delicate balance between depression and inflation.
7)     The struggle to not be motivated by paranoia, fear, narrowness, and
over-protectionism in the face of terrorism and overpowering complexity …
the struggle to not let our need for clarity and security trump compassion and truth.
8)     The struggle with moral loneliness inside a religious, cultural,
political, and moral Diaspora … the struggle to find soulmate who meet us and sleep with us inside our moral center.
9)     The struggle to link faith to justice … the struggle to get a
letter of reference from the poor, to institutionally connect the gospel to the streets, to remain on the side of the poor.
10)  The struggle for community and church, the struggle inside a culture of excessive individuality to find the healthy line between individuality and community, spirituality and ecclesiology … the struggle as adult children of the Enlightenment to be both mature and committed, spiritual and ecclesial. 

What’s the value in a list of this sort? It’s important to name things and to name them properly; although, admittedly, simply naming a disease doesn’t of itself bring about a cure.

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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