Surrendered in Grace
The past month I have been meditating on Andrew Murray's classic
of spirituality Absolute Surrender. Some of you have read,
or are starting to read, this inspirational encouragement toward a more
Spiritual Performance Anxiety
Yesterday, I suggested a typical but torturous back and forth
process involving the attempt to correct imbalanced points of view on
the Spirit's work. The specific nature of the imbalance redressed by
Andrew Murray and the Keswick movement involved the issue of power...
Purification and the Spirit
Lately we've been speaking a lot about listening to the Spirit
bearing witness within us. Over the years this is something that has
been an integral part of my understanding of spirituality. But the Spirit
is constantly speaking beneath all the 'monkey mind' and white noise
that our consciousness throws up into our thought life...
Seeing What's There
Of all the portrayals of Watershed's mission I am most fond of
the version that reads, "Watershed's purpose is to enable individuals,
in the context of community, to make decisions that lead to consciousness."
I like it because it does not create a chasm between community and individual
goals, and it emphasizes the importance of making decisions that deeply
affect our everyday lives...
Giving To You What Is Mine
J. I. Packer finds the central metaphor for the Holy Spirit's
work in the Gospel of John. John emphasizes the Spirit as the Advocate
or paraclete (one who comes along side). The Spirit comes alongside
to do a very specific task which becomes the correcting and organizing
center of what Packer calls the sweet 'p's': power, performance, purification,
The Spirit of Mediation
How does the Holy Spirit mediate the presence of Jesus to us
on a practical level? J.I. Packer points to three types of awareness
mediated by the Holy Spirit. He believes that the Spirit helps us to
understand Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of Scriptures, once crucified,
In the mid-1970s I had my first encounter with the charismatic
movement. Keith Matthews, the young adult sponsor in our church, had
been profoundly influenced by the movement. The best argument that could
be made for the supernatural empowering of the Holy Spirit's gifts was
the vibrancy of life that we all experienced through Keith...
What Are We Waiting For?
These paragraphs describe occasions of waiting. The first situation
describes anticipatory waiting, waiting for the familiar. Jesus is telling
his friends that when the Spirit comes they will recognize him because
of prior Spirit-inspired experiences...
Water Into Wine
While reading Origen I had an image of the Scripture being like
the swaddling clothes that were wrapped around Jesus at his birth. It
was as if this mental image was a picture under which the words, "Christ
Comes Wrapped," were written. Origen constantly speaks about Christ
incognito, through a variety of types and allegorical images. He takes
us far above history and grammar into the realm of eternity where there
seems to be a host of theophanies all lined up, ready to reveal the
Origen, whom some believe was the first systematic theologian
of the Early Church, is undoubtedly a master wordsmith, especially when
he speaks of the meaning and function of scripture. Origen blends the
medium and the message tightly together in a way that speaks for itself...
As I've been reading about the Trinity, I've found myself admiring
the community orientation, relational closeness and effective communication
among members of the Trinity. God desires that we share in the Trinitarian
life but we must first understand of what that life consists. It is
one thing to admire a good relationship from afar and quite another
to be invited to become part of that relationship. Already we've seen
some features of Trinitarian life: love, reciprocity, equality, responsibility
and recognition of what it means to be a distinct individual...
Origen's allegorical method reminds me of a lot of Fowler's Stages
Of Faith or Beck's Spiral Dynamics, or any other developmental theory.
Moving from Flesh to Soul to Spirit is precisely what Ken Wilber talks
about when he says that our consciousness develops from the eye of the
flesh, to the eye of the soul, and on to the eye of the Spirit. The
way in which we appropriate and act upon what we hear in scripture is
undoubtedly a product of our conscious development and spiritual growth...
The Apostle Paul called himself a person born out of time (1
Corinthians 15:8). He wished that he'd have been born earlier and come
to maturity during the time of Jesus' ministry; he longed to know his
master intimately and firsthand. Conversely, Origen of Alexandria seems
to have been born precisely at the right time for his world. His genius
came slamming into world history five years after Commodus (of Gladiator
fame), the reprobate son of Marcus Aurelius, began his infamous reign
which led to the destruction of Rome. Edward Gibbon the famous Roman
philosopher said that the century proceeding Commodus' reign was the
longest time of peace and prosperity that the world had ever known.
It was followed by years of tyranny and decline with only short breaths
Circle of Trust
I have been drawn to the gospel of Luke, partly because we will
be studying it, but also because Luke seems to be a gospel addressed
to those interested in a universal perspective and in communication
with culture. As it happens, my reading for the day came from Chapter
7, the healing of the centurion's slave....