One of the big goals of the Spiritual Maturity Project is to introduce people to resources that they might not otherwise find. Of course, resources seem endlessly abundant, so why do people need help finding anything? We're trying to help you get to the good stuff. Quicker. Deeper. More long-lasting and spiritually enriching resources.
Most of the time, once we get a basic idea down, that satisfies our curiosity and we move on to the next thing. But for really good spiritual growth to take place over time, we need to go deeper sometimes and we need to stay longer when we go deeper. Take this example: many people are curious to know the basic differences between Catholics and Protestants. Just exactly what is it that distinguishes us from one another? One very common answer goes back into the mists of the history of the Protestant Reformation. You might recognize the Latin phrase sola fide (faith alone) as one of the so-called Protestant principles. Faith alone, separate from works, is necessary for salvation. And with a little digging, you may discover that the Catholic Council of Trent, in reaction to Protestantism, decreed that faith plus works is necessary for salvation. What the Council of Trent actually said (and meant) is another matter. But the basic idea as I've described is often used to distinguish Catholics from Protestants.
And many of us leave it right there. That's enough to satisfy our curiosity and we carry on with life thinking we have a good grasp on at least one of the basic differences between Catholics and Protestants. If you're a Protestant (as I'm guessing the vast majority of people who might read this blog are), then you probably have folded this little nugget into your Protestant identity and you feel relatively secure in holding this view.
Protestants are generally ignorant of the great contributions to the faith made before the Protestant Reformation. Essentially, 1,500 years of church history is a blank for us. Some people, realizing this gap, do their own exploring and, piecemeal, begin to fill in the blanks. May their tribe increase. But most of us go on with life bereft of some really spiritually rich resources.
We recently uploaded a podcast from The Living Church Institute that illustrates the tremendous resources that should be within all our reach. It is on a spiritual struggle that we all have. Our forefathers and mothers in the faith called it "the noonday demon," or "sloth." As Dr. Stefana Dan Laing points out in the conversation, we usually think of sloth as laziness, but it goes much deeper. The technical term for this experience is acedia. Every Christian should know what acedia is.
If you want more insight into why you sometimes struggle to keep pressing on when you feel almost overwhelmed with the sense that all your Christian efforts don't really mean anything; when you are trying hard to pray and your mind buzzes with distractions and you feel like giving up because "nothing is happening," then this podcast will open a window of insight. Have a listen. I'll watch for comments. The Living Church Podcast is one I highly recommend.