Healthy Spirituality?

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw /

Cashier at the grocery store:  “Are you a nurse?”

“No, I’m not . . . why do you ask?”

“Oh, because you eat so healthy.”

I do try to eat healthy foods, and that day in my shopping cart I had tofu, eggs, bok choy, broccoli, corn on the cob, bananas, peaches,  pomegranate juice. All of that did look healthy, apart from the one package of Ichiban instant noodles (highly processed, I know, but still an occasional comfort food, and hey, at least I was going to eat it with the bok choy).

The cashier’s comment got me thinking though about what makes for a healthy spiritual diet. Are there some basic spiritual food groups? Are there some things we need to avoid?

In an early issue of Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology, I wrote an article on “Christian Spirituality: Following the Way of Jesus,” and suggested four questions that could help point the way to a healthy spirituality (slightly rephrased here):

(1)  Does this experience or practice draw us into a deeper and more personal relationship with God?

(2)  Does this experience or practice draw us to prayer and Scripture?  Does it result in right actions, integrity, good works?

(3)  Is this experience or practice grounded in love for God and neighbour?

(4)  Does this experience or practice lead us to Christ?

Writing/Reflection Prompt: What does healthy spirituality look like to you?


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3 thoughts on “Healthy Spirituality?

  1. April, I appreciate your 4 questions because often when I see some activities that we as Christians do or things they are willing to see, I wonder what effect these things have on us long term with our relationship with Christ. I don’t believe we need to have blinders on to what’s going on in the world but do we need to actively participate in things like seeing violent or highly sexual movies or shoot em up games on the computer. Or, what about spending large sums of money at a western holiday resort in a developing country? Do all our activities need to lead us to your four points? Maybe not, but I do believe a large majority should. I know I want to live for Christ in everything I do, but it isn’t always easy. No one said it was.

  2. I think it’s important to keep on asking questions as you/we are dong. We may not exactly ever get it “right” but we can keep growing. As Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God–what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

  3. Thank you for this reflection. I have always taught and guided others not to take thier faith for granted, yet I had never thought of a spiritual life as “healthy” in terms of healthy eating. But as I reflect on your post, I can see the connection since what we put inside of us (food or observations) effects us. Society pushes for us to eat well, should not our faith institutions push for us to life healthy spiritual lives?

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