Broccoli is good for you. It's really good for you. It's good for your gut, your bowel and your immune system and can help fend off cancer. I expend a lot of energy evangelising my kids about the goodness of brocolli and trying to persuade them not to leave it on their plates.
But I don't only feed my kids broccoli because broccoli, as good as it is, isn't enough. God designed our bodies to be fueled by a variety of foods that provide the nutrition we need for healthy growth. Broccoli is an important food for growth but it's not the only food.
Sometimes I feel that wisdom for healthy growth as a Christian has been reduced to "eat broccoli." A good thing - Bible reading and prayer - has become the only thing that Christians should do in order to become more like Jesus.
Attending church and being part of a small group might be added to the list, but mainly because these are also opportunities to open the Bible and pray.
Is there more to spiritual formation than Bible reading and prayer? Christians throughout history have certainly thought so. Christians have pursued silence and solitude, engaged in holy discourse, observed sabbath rest, fasted, recited catechisms, memorised scripture, adopted a rule of life, made resolutions and more.
Each of these disciplines are compliments to not rivals of Bible reading and prayer. Silence and solitude provide opportunities to reflect on God's word and speak with him. Holy discourse enables Biblical edification. The sabbath is time to enjoy God and his good gifts. Fasting drives us to prayer. Catechisms and memorised scripture sink Biblical truth deeper into our hearts. Resolutions and rules of life provide frameworks for God-centred living.
Yet despite a rich collection of nutritious foods to fuel us, Christians are largely encouraged to pursue a broccoli-only diet.
I do not know why this is. Do you?