Wow Moments: What Falling Asleep Teaches Us About the Spirit

While reading James Smith’s new book, Imagining the Kingdom I came across this brilliant thought:

“I cannot “choose” to fall asleep. The best I can do is choose to put myself in a posture and rhythm that welcomes sleep. ‘I lie down in bed, on my left side, with my knees drawn up; I close my eyes and breathe slowly, putting my plans out of my mind. But the power of my will or consciousness stops there.’ I want to go to sleep, and I’ve chosen to climb into bed—but in another sense sleep is not something under my control or at my beckoned call. ‘I call up the visitation of sleep by imitating the breathing and posture of the sleeper. . . . There is a moment when sleep ‘comes,’ settling on this imitation of itself which I have been offering to it, and I succeed in becoming what I was trying to be.’ Sleep is a gift to be received, not a decision to be made. And yet it is a gift that requires a posture of reception—a kind of active welcome.

What if being filled with the Spirit had the same dynamic? What if Christian practices are what Craig Dykstra calls ‘habitations of the Spirit’ precisely because they posture us to be filled and sanctified? What if we need to first adopt a bodily posture in order to become what we are trying to be?”

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2 responses to “Wow Moments: What Falling Asleep Teaches Us About the Spirit

  • Dell Bornowsky

    My own pentecostal background suggests that praise is one of those postures that makes us receptive “vessels” to become ever more clear channels of the Spirit’s graces.
    I’ve just started reading his first book in this series “Desiring the Kingdom” I like his idea that education is more (ought to be more) about formation than about information (and not just about learning what things are like, but rather about leaning what things to like!) It is develping my own thinking about popular idoltries that are so embedded and hidden in our culture that we are often unconsious of participaing in thier liturgies.

  • joshthejuggler

    Thanks Dell, James Smith is one of my favorite authors. He is one of those authors who somehow puts into words what you have vaguely thought, but couldn’t express…When you finish his book, we should have a chat about it together.

    I would also recommend his book, “Thinking In Tongues” as well.

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