Monday, October 24, 2005

Seeing . . .

Imparting vision. I know God does it . . . but is there anything we can do to help someone else see?

While I know that all spiritual insight is a divine gift, I do believe that God wills also to give such revelation to us through one another. I am reformed in my persistent desire to trace every impulse and good gift back to God - while affirming the role of willingness on our part to submit and accept God's working.

However, given our human nature of self-will, our culture which has enshrined that tendency in individualism and independence, and the protestant idea of sola scriptura that has sometimes been hijacked by individualism to make each one his or her own spiritual authority, little room remains for submitting to spiritual direction.

There is a difference in accepting spiritual instruction - a more educational situation - and spiritual direction. We will readily accept teaching in a classroom setting, but to accept individualized spiritual guidance which cuts to the root of our problems is foreign. And threatening to individualism.

When people approached Jesus as a Rabbi they expected spiritual wisdom more than intellectual information - due to their tradition of spiritual mentoring. We see people coming and asking for guidance. Obviously, many turned away from the personal prescription he gave when it didn't suit them . . . but at least they expected such. Were I to speak so boldly to identify spiritual maladies and point out the remedy to people individually, the resistance would not only be to the diagnosis but to my apparent audacity. I would be "overstepping" my role religiously.

Which is one spiritual vision I have - that of people seeking mentoring and wisdom. But how do I share that? Can I do anything to impart it? How can believers move from consumers who want to be served to seekers who want to be formed?

(Okay . . . that last sentence just popped out there, an insight from my writing process).

This is one of the core problems. As Christians we are consumers who believe we are the customers in the motto the customer is always right . . . and therefore our needs ought to set the agenda. How can we make a fundamental shift? The task is a revolution against the culture and human nature.

All I know to do is talk about it . . . and let those who have ears to hear, hear it.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your quest to discover how one moves from the consumer to seeker seems to reflect a poorly informed view of those who sought relief. To appreciate real need and persona one has the example Christ set before his disciples - the child.

The child Christ set in the midst of the disciples is the one to emulate as the guide to having a relationship with both he and his Father.

The disciple is compelled to learn more about Christ and pray more to understand him in his day and time.

Greg Newton said...

I wish I understood the comment above. Okay . . . I understand the child as an illustration Jesus used - but how does that say something other than what I was saying?

This seems to be too brief a comment to make sense and to connect to what I was talking about.

I'm puzzled - but since the author is anonymous there's no way to follow up.

Whatever.

Anonymous said...

Please be encouraged. I am only seeking answers as you yourself seem to be seeking. My responses were my leading from God. My He direct our conversation and help us both discover His answers by seeking the mind of Chirst.

Perceiving your sincerity, I entered the dialogue in hopes of finding such answers. I pray God will lead you to help me be a light in the darkness of my community. Though an adult, I seek as a child; not as an authority.

============

Your topic was "how is one used by God to help impart vision." ...Christ helped others to see by telling them they must seek as a child seeks not as the wordly wise. He is asking his disciples to remember or relearn how to be childlike.

Your question:
"How can believers move from consumers who want to be served to seekers who want to be formed?"

....the child is a natural seeker desiring to be informed.

Your question: This is one of the core problems. As Christians we are consumers who believe we are the customers in the motto the customer is always right . . . and therefore our needs ought to set the agenda. How can we make a fundamental shift? The task is a revolution against the culture and human nature.

....those Jesus helped were lost souls shut out from society. his agenda was not revolution. it was resolution through relationship. he restored relationships by bringing the sheep of His Father's pasture back home.

I hope this helps answer your question.

shalom

Greg Newton said...

Thanks!! Sometimes I cannot connect the dots, but your fuller explanation helps me see what you are saying.

Your choice of wording sometimes throws me a bit . . . like saying Jesus was not about revolution but resolution through relationships, but one might say that it is a revolution to seek to restore relationships!

To me a revolution against human nature and culture means simply that Jesus wanted to show us a radically different way.

Anonymous said...

certainly, without a doubt, history has routinely provided evidence of the two worlds colliding to produce revolution. words (idealogies, etc.) seem to me to simply be a convenience through which revolution might perpetually convey itself.

the words; radical, revolution and their relatives were much a part of my early introduction into Christianity. then i met Francis Schaeffer. just meeting him changed my life.

thanks for your thoughtful approach to the Christian discipleship.