God In A Box – 5 quotes from my book – The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life  

by Mark Votava

41+jgDX732L1. Paying very little attention to pursuing God

“It seems odd to me also that we are intentional about so many things in life – our families, our shopping, our entertainments, our social life, our careers, our sexuality, our appetites, our comfort and security – except our communion with our Creator. We have almost no imagination for the mystical imagination in everyday life. We settle for the cliché of our concept of predestination that says ‘everything has a purpose and if it’s meant to be it will happen.’ So we end up paying very little attention to pursuing God within the framework of the mystical imagination. We say, ‘It just isn’t a part of the real world.’ It is secondary to the ‘real world’ of what we can see right in front of us all the time through images on screens and mass amounts of entertainment. We need a mystical imagination that redefines what the ‘real world’ is to us as the body of Christ in the parish.”

2. The temptation to move on is too great

“We need to have a practice of contemplative spirituality within us in order to cultivate the mystical imagination in the parish. This brings about sustainability and strength to persevere through all that life brings us. Life can be difficult. If we do not have a practice of contemplation we will not last long in our neighborhood. The temptation to move on is too great. Most of us have the chance every year to leave and go ‘somewhere better,’ where all our ‘American dreams’ will come true. The body of Christ should not succumb to such themes. Everyday relational life is too important to become fragmented all over again.”    

3. We cannot put God in a box anymore

“Our silence and solitude will always be revealing reality to us as the body of Christ in everyday life. We cannot get stuck in our past preconceived notions of God. We cannot put God in a box anymore. We cannot trap God into a distortion of our own reality. God needs to be free within us to be the revealing God.”

4. Affecting the world with goodness, beauty, and love

“We should be advocates for the place where we live. This is our task, our duty, our way of life, and our subversive practice. Affecting the world with goodness, beauty, and love always starts in small ways through what is happening locally among us. It starts within us in the place we inhabit through our reflection and rest. Our locality needs to be embraced as sacred in everyday life. The world will not become anything different and history will repeat itself, if we do not take this call seriously. The mystical imagination is calling out to us to come alive and embrace an expression of love that starts through the local community we live in.”

5. Our presence and our love

“Our practice of reflection and rest will slow us down so we can be faithfully present to all of life in the place we inhabit. Doing nothing will shape us to love one another. Our reflection and rest will lead us to look within and discover a deeper life of mystery and paradox. We can be content with doing nothing. Our presence and our love are enough in our relational context.”

Do you seem to put God in a box? Are you present in everyday life? How can we affect the world with goodness, beauty, and love? Do you feel the temptation to move on when things get difficult? Do you pursue God intentionally?

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist