10 Ways to Recover from Our Dualistic Thinking

by Mark Votava


I have been thinking a lot about dualistic thinking and how this affects our spirituality.  I am on the path of healing and recovery from my dualistic ways.  I am learning that Jesus did not know dualistic thinking at all.  But redemption awaits us if we unlearn some of our ways and embrace what the Spirit is doing in the twenty-first century.  Here are 10 ways to start on the path of recovery from dualistic thinking:

1. Embrace your spirituality as a way of life instead of just a belief.  Christianity is not thought of very much as a way of life, but Jesus says I am the way.  Following Christ is about a way of love, compassion and grace in the world.

2. Embrace local community as the foundation of your ecclesiology.  When the church is not a local community together in a particular place there is a duality between its existence and the culture.  Church becomes more about meetings, buildings and growth than an expression of love together in everyday life.  Those in our culture who do not like our meetings we define as church will never experience the body of Christ in the context of everyday life if it doesn’t exist there.

3. Embrace listening and do not hold onto preconceived ideas about God.  Listening always leads us to greater awareness, understanding and wisdom.  Listening will not allow God to live in our boxes, preconceived ideas about life and colonial ways.

4. Commit to in a particular place over time and give up on upward mobility.  A theology of a rootedness to a particular place gives a whole new outlook on life.  We start to see the illusion of the dominant narrative of upward mobility.  We start to lose our trust in the path of upward mobility.

5. Learn to practice hospitality and see Christ in the poor.  When we create a theology around Matthew 25 about the sheep and the goats this will transform us constantly.  We will develop an imagination to see Christ in the poor.  Our rational minds cannot understand this and we will live into the mystery of this teaching of Christ.

6. Embrace worship as an embodied practice of love in everyday life.  We will see worship more holistically as encompassing all of our life.  Worship becomes a longing that lives within us as we share life with others.

7. Embrace the ordinary as sacred.  Everything is sacred in the ordinary moments of life.  And these are really the only moments we have.  So we must pay attention to the ordinary and learn to see all of life as sacred.

8. Value relationships as more important than making money.  We will start to understand that our identity is not about how much money we have.  Our identity is about the way we value people in everyday life.  We start to love.

9. Show empathy, compassion and love to those who you have labeled as different.  Giving up our labels becomes a life practice and see similarities is something we work on.  In seeing the good that is, we give up on judging others.  We become compassionate and empathetic.

10. Practice gratitude when life turns out to be something you did not expect.  Gratitude becomes our healing path in the midst of life.  We need this so we do not become angry, cynical and apathetic when the difficulties of life happen.

How can we recover from our dualistic thinking?