Shadow Missions


Posted on : 12:06 PM | By : Anonymous | In :

One thing I have been hearing in church and on some spiritual sites I go to is the catchphrase 'shadow mission'.  It is very catchy, lol.  But it brings up some thoughts.  A shadow mission is defined as something that we desire in our life that takes us away from God's true purpose for our life.  The general feeling I get from this is that it is just like any another Christian formula: a+b=c.  If you ignore your desires a little bit + find God's purpose for your life = rewards when you die.

Maybe it's because I tend to call myself a Buddhist Quaker for other people's convenience or maybe it's just because I don't like formulas, but I don't like this simplistic explanation of human life.  When people are taught to look at life as a formula, they start to have very linear thinking.  The world becomes defined by absolutes: black and white, good and bad, right and wrong.  

The girls have been watching a lot of kung fu movies lately... Mulan, Kung Fu Panda, and even Kung Fu Hustle, lol.  I have to admit, Kung Fu Panda is one of my favorite movies now because of the amazing amount of complex Buddhist principles scattered throughout the story.  Can I adopt an old talking turtle as my sensei?  At one point his student runs up to him and says, "Master! I have some very bad news!"  And he calmly keeps doing what he's doing, saying, "There is no good or bad news, just news."  Then at the end of the conversation he disintegrated into a million peach tree flower petals and flew up into the sky, symbolizing his death.

I do think that everyone does have a shadow mission, but I think of it this way.  God has put us here to just be.  In Gospels, the overall message of Jesus was simple and clear (if you don't believe me, read them 20 times in a row so that it becomes ingrained in your mind and you can clearly see the big picture): forget your worries, forget your political problems, forget your greedy desires, get rid of the clutter of your life.  This is the kingdom of heaven if you just open your eyes to see it, but we are so blind.  The truth is that God doesn't really care what you do with your life.  His love is so powerful and so incomprehensible that he is love.  Obviously he's going to hold you accountable for choices which cause pain to others.... but is he really?  Isn't that why Christianity has a Savior in the first place?

We have defined God in our small human terms, and we coin silly phrases to help us to explain away why we like to do things. The tree doesn't think about how to grow.  It just is, and humans were created to be the same, and we were created to grow and spread the love of God by doing regular old human things.  We were made to work with our hands and be close to the earth and just live.

Comments (5)

I'm sorry Nic, but I really have to respectfully disagree with what the Bible says our greatest purpose. I really don't think our greatest purpose is to simply live any old life that we can, and to decide that whatever we do is what we should be doing.

When the Pharisee's asked Christ what the greatest commandment was, they were, in a sense asking what the number one rule was, what the one thing they had to make sure they did was.

And Christ's answer wasn't about being or living, it was that we were to love God with all our heart, and all our mind, and all our strength, and we were to love our neighbour as ourselves. (Matthew 22:34-40)

Neither of those commandments are passive, neither involve simply observing others or just being. To love God with everything seems to take a lot of work and effort, and to love our neighbours as much as we love ourselves, well that seems to be a hard thing too.

It seems to me that God cares very very deeply what we do with our lives. I think God is asking us to be very intentional about how we love God, love ourselves and love our neighbours.

I'm sorry Mrs. Spit, but I really have to respectfully disagreeing that we are disagreeing. :)

I think that you are actually saying something very similar to what I said... God is love and we are to share that love with the world. Nor did I say to be passive, which is quite the opposite of BEING. Thus the title of my blog, Deliberate Life. I would suggest that being is a very active intentional choice, which is why the examples I gave were to give up greed, clutter and to work with our hands, all very deliberate choices.

I suppose that when I say God doesn't really care what you do, I mean that he doesn't care what it is or how you do it, as long as the end result is the same, and that is love. For example, a life sitting in front of the television isn't motivated by love, but by selfishness. By the same token, a life dedicated to God in a monastery could also be motivated by selfishness. It's never black and white.

We aren't just supposed to be, we are supposed to come to know Him (John 17:3) and become like Him (Matt 5:48). In order to know Him and become like Him you have to serve Him (keep His commandments). Through the process of becoming like Christ our hearts are filled with perfect love, Christ-like love. It didn't take me 20 times to figure that out.

Ok, so the last sentence is a little hypocritical and i apologize. the truth is you can read the bible 100 times and still not learn everything there is to know.

I love you Andria and Merle. :)

I suppose I would have to say... where's the Grace? (John 1:15-18)