Moving Away From It’s All About Me

2nd Half of Life spirituality

Most cultures are first-half-of-life cultures, and even sadder, most organized religion almost necessarily sells a first-half-of-life spirituality. In the first half of life it is all about me. How can I be important? How can I be safe? How can I make money? How can I look attractive? And, in the Christian scenario, how can I think well of myself and go to heaven? How can I be on moral high ground? These are all ego questions. They are not the questions of the soul.

I’m sad to say, I think many Christians have never moved beyond these survival and security questions. Even eternity is securing my future, not even a common future, or a future for humanity; religion becomes a private insurance plan for that future. It’s still all about me, but piously disguised. Any sense of being part of a cosmos, part of a historical sweep, that God is doing something bigger and better than simply saving individual souls (my soul in particular) is largely of no interest. This becomes apparent in the common disinterest of so many when it comes to Earth care, building real community, and peace and justice issues. For many Christians—stuck in the first half of life—all that is important is my private moral superiority and spiritual “safety,” which is somehow supposed to “save” me.

Once God and grace move us to the second half of life, however, religion becomes much more a mystical matter, rather than a mere moral matter. Then it’s all about union and our participation in and with God, while also seeing my actual moral weakness. Indeed, this is the work of true religion, to help us transition from stage to stage, toward ever-deeper union with God and all things. Stay on this journey of ever-deeper and ever-broader union.

Adapted from Loving the Two Halves of Life: The Further Journey. Rohr