I’m Pretty Certain We’ve All Been Hyper-Spiritual

We all know that person. Like me, maybe you have been that person. I think we all have if we are being honest. There is a certain sense of, should I say, vindication, when we can appear to rise above the fray. Ultimately, that is what the Hyper-Spiritual type is doing.

Somewhere, in your Christian walk, you’ve been more than willing to let others know that you are above it all. What you are really saying is, “Hey look you spiritual plebes, I have not sunk to your level because I have it all figured out.”  Do you see it? Can you understand what it is I am saying? Have you ever been that hyper-spiritual type.?

A Few Brief Examples of Hyper-Spiritual

As I said above, I am willing to bet we have all done this. I was profoundly guilty of hyper-spiritual grandstanding during the 2016 election cycle. While I never went so far as to attack the Christian ethic of the Christians supporting Trump, I made my disdain quite clear.

Abortion Abolitionist are particularly good at displaying their hyper-spiritual selves. The whole, “If you aren’t out there with me as often as I am out…” mentality is super fun to watch.

They hyper-spiritual grandstanding of the Woke crowd, especially white evangelical social justice warriors, is profoundly impressive. There is something special about being lectured by Matt Chandler about my white privilege.

How about hyper-spiritual street evangelist? I was that guy for a VERY VERY VERY long time. I still love street evangelism and open-air preaching. But I don’t think it is for everyone. Frankly, I don’t believe that most Christians are well-equipped to even preach the Gospel. Let alone take part in public evangelism.

Asceticism, Ancient Hyper-Spiritual Grandstanding

When people think of the ancient Church, they often form a picture of monks with their heads shaved in weird pattern. This is monasticism. Monasticism was nothing more than Asceticism lived out.

So, Todd, what was asceticism. Moreover, how does it relate to hyper-spiritual grandstanding?

Simply put, asceticism was the practice of living an austere life in hopes of growing more holy. This holiness would come about as a product of learning to do without. The more you “suffered” and the more you forsook, the holier you became and the closer to God you would get.

Asceticism gave rise to mysticism and in many ways, they were almost inseparable. Adherents to ancient asceticism went so far as to even sit atop incredibly tall poles in public for days on end. Often times preaching at others about their pole sitting. This movement preached asceticism as the way to God over and against the Gospel. Instead of pointing people to Christ, they pointed people to what they believed about Christ and how one should live.

So, What Prompted This?

I am writing this essay about a week removed from the 2020 General Election. In that time, I have watched as conservatives from the secular and religious ends have done a good portion of handwringing. We have been told who the president elect is by one end of the spectrum. Only to see the other end of the spectrum insist that this isn’t over by a long shot (I am one of those types currently).

Consequently, I have also observed a good bit of hyper-spiritual grandstanding from the current iteration of ascetic pole-sitters. These are the folks that sit so far above the fray they may not be able to actually see the fray from where they are.

They issue edicts such as, “We are not to be of the world and that is all I am thinking about,” or “I am not of Biden or Trump. I am of Christ!”

One of my favorites often sounds something like this, “God is still in control and I think some of you have forgotten that.”

Look, we all say bone-headed stuff at times. But sitting back in the midst of a time of great turmoil and spewing religious platitudes as if you are part of the “monkery” isn’t helping.

There are very real spiritual and moral ramifications to the outcome of the 2020 election. Your hyper-spiritual claims that you are above the fray of the fight don’t make you superior. Frankly, it isn’t a good look. All you do is come off as condescending and acerbic.  And a lot out of touch.

There is Room for Comment but no Room for Pontificating

I have had to learn this the hard way after many screw ups. I am sure that comes as a shock to my tens of readers.

Consequently, I am not trying to insinuate that we should not bring Christian thought to bear on current socio-political events in our nation(s). Nothing could be further from the truth. After all, one of my favorite quotes from any theologian comes from Calvin.

“When God desires to judge a nation, He grants them wicked rulers…”

Enough said? Sure, and probably not, all at the same time. But this is not a case of hyper-spiritual grandstanding in the least. It is simply a statement of profound theological depth. Moreover, it is applicable to so many eras across the span of time.

If you truly believe your brethren are too absorbed in the current melee and need to step back, talk to them. Pull them aside or message them or call them and have that conversation. But please, for the love of Pete, stop the heavy-handed pontificating. It isn’t a good look…

Soli Deo Gloria!

-Todd