Flesh, Spirit, Pie

Did you ever play NBA Jam for Super Nintendo as a kid? As a rule, I’m pretty terrible at sports-based video games, but there honestly wasn’t much to that one. While I’d have preferred MarioKart (because if your brother asks you what game you’d like to play, the answer is always MarioKart), I wasn’t always the one choosing and on occasion, it was NBA Jam. My favorite part of that game was when I ended up “on fire” — I don’t know how many baskets in a row qualified you, but you basically couldn’t miss after that and the ball was literally on fire. Loved that!

NBA Jam -- on fire!! {Source}
NBA Jam — on fire!! {Source}

All that for me to point out that when it comes to blogging I’M ON FIIIIIIRRRREEEEE!! Four in a row! She’s un-stopp-a-ble!!

At least for now. As I said: good– loudly, clearly, always. Four in a row or four in a month. Got to give myself a bit of grace.

So, after a lovely Friday evening (Seth and I, as I said, went for a fish fry, complete with wine (which you generally can’t get in a church basement) and then drove by all the lovely animals at Wildwood Zoo on our way home– super fun!) here I am relaxing on Saturday (waffles, waffles, waffles!!) and ready to reflect again, one more day of Lent. And our days of Lent are almost gone, after all. Got to really make the most of what’s left!

Today marks 3/4 of the way– conversation #30.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” –John 3:6

“What does it mean to be ‘born of the flesh’ and ‘born of the spirit’ and in the end does it really make any difference? So much in me ‘born of the flesh’ — done to satisfy my appetites — has in the end changed by spirit. And many times for the good. And those things in me ‘born of the spirit’ — meant to be idealistic, ‘spiritual’ — have just as many times been corrupting. I was a ‘good Catholic’ and so became disdainful of those who weren’t Catholic. How unholy can a person be? So now I suspect the separation of flesh and spirit and am open to both. That way, perhaps someday holiness will sneak in when I’m not looking.” –Joan Chittister

Here’s what I like best:

That way, perhaps someday holiness will sneak in when I’m not looking.

I like the idea of holiness just sneaking in. Me, just going along, doing my best, day after day, and somewhere along the way, maybe in my late 70s (because late 70s seems reasonable), holiness just sneaks in through a crack left unattended.

Think it might happen? Maybe if I don’t worry so much about it… maybe if I just do the best I can, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, one minute at a time, one second at a time. Perhaps holiness will find its way in whether I search desperately or not. I like that. Hey, self, stop trying so dang hard!

So then, to Joan’s question, does the distinction of flesh vs. spirit really matter? Maybe not. She talks of separation, but ultimately, we are both. I would cease to exist as myself without either one or the other. Therefore, it seems impossible that, as Joan describes, one shouldn’t impact the other.

When I was in Memphis last November for the Call To Action conference (progressive Catholicism, if you’ll recall), I stopped at a booth representing the Church Health Center. Based in Memphis, TN, the Church Health Center “seeks to reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and our spirits.” I loved that idea and I picked up a couple of books while I was there, including God, Health and Happiness.

It spoke so soundly to this point, the inability to separate body and soul, the fact that both matter to overall health and wellness. Such a good read and I’ve bought the Church Health Center premise hook, line, and sinker.

{Source} Care for the flesh and the spirit.
{Source} Care for the flesh and the spirit.

It make so much sense, doesn’t it? The notion that all of these flesh-based and spirit-based facets of our lives contribute to our overall health and well-being. I especially love that each one is given an equal piece of the pie. (Mmmm… pie.)

While there may be separation of thing of the flesh and things of the spirit, I firmly believe that Joan is right– one can affect the other, and we are often unable to predict when or how or why. So we do the best we can at making the slices of the pie equal in size and deliciousness and hope that holiness sneaks in in the process.

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