A Brick in the Valley

Cornelius Plantinga on Spiritual Discipline
December 3, 2007, 9:26 pm
Filed under: Quotes

In his tremendous book, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be, Plantinga explains why spiritual discipline is fundamental to spiritual freedom.

“Just as in sports and music, discipline in spiritual hygiene has a point. Anybody can play, but only a disciplined person can play freely. Discipline is the basis and presupposition of both freedom and power. A basketball forward who does a spin move in the lane and a concert pianist who rips off a fortissimo run in octaves need strength to do these things, but they also need fluidity. They need what we might call powerful relaxation or relaxed power; they need strong fluidity or fluid strength. They are playing, but ‘playing within themselves.’ Behind their masterly mix of power and freedom lie hours and hours of painful, sweaty discipline. This is work for play. People who practice spin moves eventually make them part of their game. People who work for years on scales and apregiios one day begin to play music (Cornelius Plantinga, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be, Grand Rapids (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995), 36).”


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