A look at 9 sacred pathways people relate to God | Faithful Living

One of my all-time favorite books is Sarah Ban Breathnach’s mega-bestseller, “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.” I’ve been reading it since 1997 and I eagerly open it when some additional joy is needed in my life.

Breathnach’s 12 monthly plans do just that. August, Breathnach says, is a time to refill our creative energies. Acknowledging and honoring our authentic gifts is not only a personal joy but a responsibility, for our own creativeness can help to transform the lives of those we love. Reading, she suggests, is a great way to refill, especially on a hot day when sitting in the shade with a cold drink.

I’ve taken this suggestion to heart and am reading a book called, “Sacred Pathways,” written by Pacific Northwest native Gary Thomas. He says there are distinctive and identifiable ways people relate to God. By identifying our own we can draw nearer to God and each other.

Using biblical figures, historical church movements and various personality temperaments, Thomas has developed nine sacred pathways and here they are:

• Naturalists love God out of doors. They would much rather pray by a stream, walk a beach, or backpack near Mount Baker. They believe that nature clearly proclaims how great God is and when reading the Bible they strongly relate to the parables Christ used based on nature.

• Sensates love God with their senses. They are drawn to the liturgical, the majestic, the grand. Incense, intricate architecture, classical music, and formal language send their hearts soaring.

• Traditionalists love God through ritual and symbol. They are fed by historic dimensions of faith: rituals, symbols, sacraments, and sacrifice. These Christians tend to have a disciplined life of faith.

• Ascetics love God in solitude and simplicity. They want nothing more than to be left alone in prayer. Let there be nothing to distract them — no pictures, no loud music — and leave them alone to live in silence and simplicity.

• Activists love God through confrontation. They often view the church as a place to recharge their batteries so they can go back into the world to wage war against injustice. They are energized by interaction with others, even in conflict.

• Caregivers love God by loving others. They serve God by serving others. Often claiming to see Christ in those with great needs, their faith is built up by interacting with other people.

• Enthusiasts love God with mystery and celebration. They are cheerleaders for God and the Christian life. They don’t want to just know concepts, but to experience them, to feel them, and to be moved by them.

• Contemplatives love God through adoration. They seek to love God with the purest, deepest and brightest love imaginable.

• Intellectuals love God with their minds. They might be skeptics or committed believers, but in either case they are likely to be studying doctrines, issues, or concepts.

There is a whole lot more to say about sacred pathways to God, so drop by again next week. In the meantime, consider the way or ways you are most comfortable interacting with God.


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates