Yesterday I introduced five powerful words that form a Christian life spectrum: Disconnect, spontaneity, rhythm, routine, and religious rut.

I unpacked the two extremes at the bottom first (disconnect, religious rut) and we found we scrape the bottom of those barrels more often than we’re comfortable admitting. What most people don’t realize is that the religious rut is just as far from Jesus Christ’s call as outright disconnect is. The parable of the prodigal son illustrates this in tragic detail.

Christ spins a masterful tale of two sons. One brother, a partygoer, shuns the love of his father for a life of pleasure. The second brother was a religious bigot blinded to the heart of his father by a misplaced addiction to duty. Christ’s point, beyond the extravagant grace of the Father, is that both boys were equally lost.

Today I’m going to do my best to explain the middle section of the pyramid and describe the “sweet spot” with Jesus it opens up to us.

Spontaneity is a beautiful word. It provides incontrovertible proof that a person is actually alive. Spontaneity offers us the novelty of surprise. It forges an atmosphere where “aha!” is made possible, where amazement and awe and play and joy become our native tongue. It’s what distinguishes a relationship from an arrangement. A healthy relationship thrives on these surprises, aha’s, amazement, awe, play, and joy. It also begins to wither the moment they go missing.

Routine, on the other hand, may not be flashy, but it does furnish helpful structure, predictability, stability, peace, and a sense of direction. It’s about Monday morning… for me at least. Monday mornings are sacred space for Shauna and I. Our routine is to get the kids off to school and then saunter down to a local Starbucks for coffee. Knowing we have that block of time with each other every week is pure gold. I wouldn’t trade our weekly date, that routine, for anything.

At first, we always brought a card game, which was fun for a while. Lately, though, we just talk. The thing is, we’ve been doing it for years, and to be honest… well… sometimes it can feel a little flat. Not because I don’t love her, heavens no. I adore her. Not because its not cherished time, not because our relationship is suffering, not because we’re not committed to marriage. No, the Starbucks date lost it’s magic because all routines eventually do. Even the most spiritual, well-intentioned routines in the world.

So then… are routines bad? Not at all. What are they good for? Why do they lose their air?

Tune in tomorrow.