Woo-Woo + La La Land = Spiritual Abdication

Do you like some ‘Woo-woo’ in your life? ‘Woo-woo’ refers to something that is ‘dubiously or outlandishly mystical, supernatural, or unscientific.’ Miriam Webster

What about a side dish of  ‘La La Land’? Now I’m not referring to the movie, more so a ‘euphoric dreamlike mental state detached from the harsher realities of life.’ Miriam Webster

I have been involved in churches where there was a lot of  ‘Woo Woo’ and ‘La La.’

A ‘Woo-woo’ and ‘La La Land’ culture empowers a spiritual abdication.

Spiritual Abdication??

Abdication – to disown or renounce, to hand over responsibility to someone else.

Here are a few examples of spiritual abdication.

  • Having an acceptance of everything that has happened as if it were ‘meant to be’ or ‘ordained by God.’
  • Spiritualised ‘Que sera sera whatever will be will be.’ Drifting through life like a feather on the wind currents of wherever ‘God’ may flow.
  • The need for a ‘sign from heaven.’
  • Trying to read God’s will out of life’s events.
  • A ‘gambling’ on God. Instead of planning and preparing you just pray and hope.
  • ‘The devil made me do it.’

This spiritual abdication is very attractive too.

Who wants to take responsibility for everything in their life? Instead, let’s hand it all over to God (or should I say your version of what God is like) and sit back and see where ‘God’ takes us.

[pullquote]If God has made us in his image, we have returned him the favor. Voltaire[/pullquote]

What is the kind of ‘God’ you have made for yourself?

One of the most difficult things I had to do when I was a pastor was to try and shake the ‘Woo-woo’ and ‘La La Land’ out of people. They were just a wishing and a hoping and a praying while their lives crumbled around them.

They would often sing ‘Que sera sera what ever will be, will be’ as they dived deeper into poverty, unwellness and relationship crisis.

Jesus hands it back

Jesus will not do for you what you could do for yourself.

Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”

The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”

8-9 Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off. John 5:1-9

Jesus didn’t wave a magic wand. No cloud of glory glitter floated down. The man didn’t stroll out through the glitter to rapturous applause. Instead, the man did what Jesus said. He took responsibility for what he alone should do. Jesus didn’t rescue, he restored.

How to leave ‘Woo Woo’ and ‘La La Land.’

  1. Look at your bank balance.
    Your bank balance is a very accurate non – ‘Woo Woo La La’ expression of reality.
  2. Go to your ‘Red Dot’ daily and own it.
    Consider yourself being in a shopping mall and you come across a map. On this map is a big arrow pointing to a Red Dot and next to the arrow are these words ‘You Are Here.’ So go there. Be honest, real and truthful. No fluff, flowery prose or sweet syrupy sentences.
  3. Take responsibility for everything you do.
    Take full responsibility for your life. Don’t abdicate or delegate to God what God has delegated to you.
  4. Listen to the conversations of those you are close to.
    Those around you may be living in Woo Woo and La La. You don’t have to. Be careful about how they may be influencing your thinking.
  5. Get many advisers.
    In the wisdom book of Proverbs, we find this advice.
    • There is safety in having many advisers. Proverbs 11:14
    • Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success. Proverbs 15:22
    • Victory depends on having many advisers. Proverbs 24:6

    I would suggest you get advice from people who are outside of your normal grouping.

  6. Be open to failure.
    One of the reasons people spirituality abdicate is that they fear failure. One of Jesus’ closest friends was Peter. He failed so many times, but out of those failures, he grew stronger and stronger.
  7. Examine the church/ spiritual groups you are involved with.  Are they grounded or are they off  ‘Woo Wooing in La La Land’. Are they truly honest about life or do they try and paint a rosy tint to everything.

Finally, if you know someone who is Woo wooing in La La Land, be gentle with them. Help them to see their bank balance, red dot, etc

Quotes to Consider

  • There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us. When our life feeds on unreality, it must starve and die. The death by which we enter into life is not an escape from reality but a complete gift of ourselves which involves a total commitment to reality. Thomas Merton Thoughts in Solitude
  • Reality itself – my limited and sometimes misinterpreted experience – is the revelatory place for God. But for some reason, we prefer fabricated realities to the strong and sensitizing face of what is. The spiritual life begins with accepting and living our reality. Richard Rohr Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer
  • Life – Don’t drift through it, use your oars. Steer it or regret it. David Riddell

Questions to answer and leave a comment below or anonymously

  1. Why are we attracted to ‘Woo-woo’ and ‘La La Land’?
  2. How would ‘Woo woo and La La Land’ contribute to ongoing mental unwellness?
  3. What other stories from the Bible demonstrate a grounded theology?

Barry Pearman

Image: nikolapeskova


7 Replies to “Woo-Woo + La La Land = Spiritual Abdication”

  1. Brilliant, I struggle to cope sometimes with fellow Christians who are imbued with this la la land thinking.  Other than being downright dangerous to the person themselves, it also disempowers faith as it makes God to fit our image, a truly oversimplified horror image.

  2. Barry, I really like this article. Are you familiar with A Course in Miracles? Would you consider that a kind of La la land or a way of thinking that hands back responsibility to you?

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