August 16, 2011

The Real or the Illusory

In our law practice of writing wills and trusts, we meet with all kinds of people. With the attorney-client privilege in place to keep our discussions confidential they reveal almost everything relevant to their lives. Their testamentary wishes, the dynamics of their families, the difficulties, their hopes, are all out in the open.
What we have learned is that the lives of our clients contain all the drama, sorrows, struggles, and accomplishments that one could imagine. And they are real. No Hollywood writer could envision a soap opera or a sitcom story line more compelling than the real accounts of life that we have heard. The real beats the illusory.
This issue of the Adventist Review critically examines the subject of contemplative spirituality—the idea that by emptying the mind we can connect with our inner selves—the god within. As is explained, this opens one up for the illusory—whatever notions that will float into our experience, or be inserted there by evil angels. The real spiritual life can come only by knowing God through His revelation of Himself and His purposes in Scripture and by learning to love Jesus as our Savior and Friend and soon-coming Lord. This real spiritual experience will trump the illusory now and for eternity.
Within ASI we have learned that the real spiritual life is strengthened by service. Quoting a friend and fellow ASI leader: “Once you have participated in public evangelism, there is nothing in life more thrilling.” A medical member must obtain a similar satisfaction at seeing a patient made whole—physically, mentally, and spiritually. A media member surely is gratified that spoken or written words lead to Christ and glorify Him.
In the marketplace where ASI members live and work the illusory has no place. One day soon when time merges into eternity we will know that what we have discovered from Scripture and experienced in our relationship with the Christ of Scripture is the only enduring reality. What we want as ASI members is to bring as many as possible with us on this journey.
Norman Reitz is president of ASI. This article was published August 11, 2011.