Attentiveness and Indifference: Curated Links Sept 4, 2020

I recently finished reading The Solace of Fierce Landscapes, by Belden Lane. It’s an exploration of “desert” and “mountain” spirituality in the church fathers, combined with personal reflections from visits to monasteries around the world, and his own mother’s slow journey toward death.

One of the ideas in the book that really engaged me was that part the training we undergo in the “desert” is learning both attentiveness and indifference.

God brings us into the desert so we can learn to pay attention to what’s actually happening around us and in us, becoming present to the here and now instead of obsessing about the past (regret) or the future (worrying). At the same time, we learn to become indifferent to our egos… letting go of our passions and desires, our anxieties about how others feel about us, how others affect us.

The desert fathers teach us that when we practice attentiveness and indifference, eventually what is birthed within us is love. In our sentimental age, it seems counter-intuitive, but it is nevertheless true that only when we are indifferent to the opinions of others can we truly love them.

It’s something I’ve begun to specifically ask God for, and something I think is especially needed in these times when there are more pressures than ever on leaders. How is God training you in attentiveness and indifference, so love can be birthed in and through you?


The curated links for the week are below. I pray they equip you engage culture today in faithfulness and compassion.

That’s all for now, folks! I leave you with a quote from aforementioned book I recently finished by Belden Lane (The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality).

It’s the perennial temptation of the acquisitive self, trying to ‘cultivate pseudo-experiences’ that will fill an inner void so as to make even emptiness an ‘object of experience.’ We never tire of the effort to manipulate and possess idealized states of consciousness. Many people would rather have an ‘experience’ of God than God himself.

Grace and peace,
Ben Sternke (for Gravity Leadership)

This work by Gravity Commons is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Free Spiritual Formation Exercise

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