My misunderstanding led to a revelation.
The other day I saw this image shared on Twitter. In context it was shared as an answer to a question…
“Wrote an article recently on technology & spiritual formation and when I got to the end, I had no answers to offer. What do we do?
The answer was this image and the words, “We’re sick. We need a better diet.”
Tyler McKenzie on Twitter: "Wrote an article recently on technology & spiritual formation and when I got to the end I had no answers to offer. What do we do? 🤷🏼♂️ Love to hear from you on this. Read & comment. https://t.co/bOPxMNtRTM" / Twitter
A play on words with the food pyramid, no doubt. But, when I saw the image without context my first thought was the pyramid was a needs pyramid.
Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs presented in pyramid form. The most important psychological needs at the base ascending to the top with the least important needs. Writing in his paper, “A theory of Motivation,” Maslow argued humans move upwards int eh pyramid when the lower-level needs are met.
Coming from this perspective I viewed the image within the same context. The base being what is a basic need, then graduating to the next lever when that need was met. In short, I saw this pyramid as a hierarchy of what I need in my life to be whole.
In truth, they call the pyramid in the image a “Wisdom Pyramid.” Brett McCracken’s book, “The Wisdom Pyramid: Feeding Your Soul in a Post-Truth World,” is a book about media consumption.
“We need a diet built around knowledge-intake that actually cultivates wisdom. We need for our mental and spiritual health what the Food Pyramid was for our physical health: guidance for what to eat and what not to eat and in what proportions, so we can become healthier and wiser.”
Though I interpreted the image wrongly, my reaction taught me something.
Andrew Terry on Twitter: "Interesting pyramid. My initial reaction is to say nature before church. Just the trees and my Bible is all I need. I’ve still more to grow. What’s yours?" / Twitter
My first reaction on this “needs” pyramid was to move the church section up a few more notches. Who needs the Church anyways?
Living in a highly individualistic world, I tend towards self-reliance, lone-ranger, “I’ll do it all on my own” type of attitude. I don’t need anyone else to help me feel fulfilled in life. The experience in I’ve had in churches only validate this attitude.
My reaction quickly turned to conviction and, finally wisdom. I can no longer go it on my own (I couldn’t in the first place). I need the Church, I need her traditions, I need her fellowship, I need her guidance.
I believe this media consumption pyramid is essentially a spiritual needs pyramid. The bottom is what I need to consume more often than the top to have a more fulfilled spiritual life.
What would your spiritual needs pyramid look like?