Shortcuts to Maturity

A short piece by NackedPastor resonated with me this morning:

There are no shortcuts to maturity. Someone has an intense spiritual experience, insight, or revelation, and the impression is that this person suddenly will be more mature, responsible and exemplary. This is often not the case. How many men and women have we seen who set themselves up or are set up by others as spiritually advanced or insightful only to find, in due time, that they are just as human and fallible as the rest of us?

Take Ken Wilber’s article on “The Strange Case of Adi Da”, the Fiji guru who initially had Wilber’s support, only for it to be withdrawn later because of the intense controversy surrounding the “pathological” guru. In another article, Wilber writes:

"Over the years I have made numerous very strong and sometimes contradictory statements about Adi Da, mostly because he is a very strong and sometimes contradictory personality. . . . I called attention to the fact that, even though Da might be highly spiritually realized, he seemed to have several problematic, perhaps even pathological, aspects to his personality and the way he was running his community. . . . Contradictory? Perhaps, but only because Da is contradictory. Contradictory and problematic — deeply problematic."

This applies to the Christian and church realm too. We see our youth go off to camp or missions or whatever and come back incredibly zealous and inspirational. We love this and encourage it, but we must not put the burden of expectation upon them that they are more mature, responsible or exemplary than they actually are. It is the same with tele-evangelists. It is also the same with the more visible and commendable members of our communities of faith. We must not allow their zeal, intelligence, influence, or vision to blind us to their frail humanity, their solidarity with the rest of the fallen human race. It is not fair to them to elevate them above the mundane work of personal development because of their extraordinary giftedness.

This does not mean we suppress the gifting of individuals. No matter how immature or mature anyone is, their contribution to the community and to the world is encouraged, nurtured, supported and valued. But not at the expense of their own personal growth, transformation and stability. It is possible, and indeed probable, that one can be “highly spiritually realized“, and yet have deep pathological issues that must be struggled with and healed, I think preferably in the context of a safe and healthy community.