vagrant spirituality


Written by Justin Bowers

Justin felt called to ministry the summer before his senior year of high school on a trip serving in South Africa. He graduated from Geneva College with a degree in Student Ministry in 2001 and again from Bethel Seminary with a Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership in 2010. He has spent the past ten years serving in several churches in youth, college, and worship ministry.

October 16, 2013


“So easily ‘spirituality’ becomes a cafeteria through which we walk making selections according to our taste an appetite… confinement turns into concentration, illusion transmutes into hope, death changes to resurrection.”
– Eugene Peterson

I’m a bit of a vagrant when it comes to the work of discipleship.
I wander from tool to tactic to grow in my walk.
Some days its a chapter of a book early in the morning.
Other days a reading plan from Youversion.
And still others its simply burying my head in the busyness of the day ahead.

The reality is, as Peterson writes above, I often make spirituality about me.
Where will I connect the most?
What will feed me?
What are my favorite “dishes” to consume?

And so I trudge on, wandering the streets hoping that somewhere along the way something clicks and I can intangibly measure my walk with Christ in ways that show me stepping closer and closer to God.

Typically, this fails.

Spirituality is a rhythm.  A surrender of rights to the heart of God.  It is a place where we should become less about our tastes and more still in him.  It is a formation of our being, not a performance of our doing.

And this is so freaking hard to believe.

I am consumed with lists, projects, things to manage and people to call.
I am constantly about forward momentum.
I want to grow, solidify, and gain  in my own vocational world.
And Jesus says simply, “Quit it.”

Yesterday I watched a famous comedian depicting the human reliance on smartphones, and his own frustration with it.  He shared poignantly that we have lost the ability to sit with our hands in our lap in a way that truly makes us human.  I’m shaken and guilty of that, and it plays into my spirituality.

May we become the people of stillness, of rhythm, and of confinement, illusion, and death.  For these are the elements of true spirituality and rising hope.


  1. Eddy Damas

    I’ve always felt that the momen when the smartphone came along that’s the same moment we lost all connectivity with life.

  2. janetb1

    I think it is technology all together. I think people feel like they are connecting through Facebook other social media and what we need is more face to face time. Can you imagine a few years from now families sitting together and reminiscing saying things like “remember that time on Facebook…..” Very sad.

    I love that God is changing us and we are growing more and more like Him every day. So good. I liked the line that you wrote, Justin, that says”It is a formation of our being, not a performance of our doing.” It is all about His working in our lives and not us doing it. He is always moving and speaking to us. He is awesome! I am glad to be under His love and grace.


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vagrant spirituality

by Justin Bowers time to read: 2 min