A Ladder and a Jungle Gym

I was introduced to Christian spirituality as something like a ladder. You start off as a "baby Christian" (which is rather condescending to tell someone) and then you mature to bear fruit. As you "journey farther with Christ" you arrive at your destination (perfection, heaven, afterlife, etc). Even the classic "Pilgrim's Progress" is a story about spirituality as a ladder getting closer and closer to a goal. 

Eh. This is okay if you are into that sort of stuff. But it never really resonated with me. I am constantly finding that a ladder just is too limited in spirituality. I would much rather think of Christian spirituality more of a jungle gym. 

There are many different options on the jungle gym all of which require a different type of practice. Sure there is a ladder, but there is also a slide. You don't use the see-saw like you use the merry go round. You have to practice them all and each one may be fitting at one stage but not another stage. If you cannot reach the tall bars then you have to wait to grow until you can. Until then, there is the climbing wall. When you are too old for the tall slide then you can practice the swing. 

Christian Spirituality is a workout that requires more than just the ability to climb up. Not everyone is ready for the ladder and that is okay. You may never be ready for the zip line. You may get hurt while practicing. Your knees may get scuffed up. You may get tired, hot, and hungry. 

But I can tell you also there will come joy when you did not expect it. There is imagination and friendship and anticipation of what new equipment you may discover. 

Teaching Christian Spirituality as a ladder makes it one dimensional and boring. So if you are on a spiritual ladder, jump off and join me on the swings!

Source: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/39239256