Shut Doors


While studying in the lectionary passages for this Sunday, I paused on this sentence; “Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’” (John 20:26b, nrsv).

On a daily basis we are surrounded by “shut doors” – defended and defensive lives. In truth, we all experience the “shut door” of our own ego. Thomas was not just behind the closed door of a room, but the closed door of disbelief. I often see the same “shut door” in myself. I see it in those whom I work with everyday. For that’s what addiction does – hardens and harasses our will, our spirit of life and joy – and robs us of the openness and vulnerability required to recognize the Presence among us.

But the “shut door” isn’t just reserved for those whom I work with in my role as an addiction counselor. Richard Rohr states, “Most addictions are not substance addictions (alcohol, drugs, food, consumer objects, etc.), but process addictions (patterns of thinking and reacting). Spiritual traditions at their higher levels discovered that the primary addiction for all humans is addiction to our own way of thinking. That should be obvious.”* (underlined emphasis mine)

The addiction to “our own way of thinking” seems epidemic these days. But, in truth,  it’s always been that way. We humans tend to shut the door of our lives to the new thing God is doing and give ourselves over to fears and doubts of our own making.

Rohr says it again in his book, Breathing Under Water.

“Stinking thinking” is the universal addiction. Substance addictions like drugs and alcohol are merely the most visible forms of addiction, but actually we are all addicted to our own habitual way of doing anything, our own defenses, and most especially, our patterned way of thinking, or how we process our reality. The very fact we have to say this shows how much we are blinded inside of it. By definition, you can never see or handle what you are addicted to. It is always “hidden” and disguised as something else.” **

Thomas’ addiction to his own experience, his own reality, his own thinking…was disguised as doubt. Under that doubt is the addiction. The same one we all suffer with…to our own way of thinking.

The good news is there too. Jesus shows up. In spite of our defensive and closed doors, Jesus keeps showing up and revealing our “stinking thinking.” Jesus keeps offering the same words, “Peace be with you.” A different Life, a different Way, seen and experienced through the Truth.

*From Richard Rohr’s daily email.

**Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, pg xxiii

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