Learning to Live the Spiritual Life

Spring/Summer 2008 Edition

In studying John's Gospel we witness a cast of characters with varying levels of understanding in response to their interactions with Jesus. More often than not they respond in typically human ways, hearing literal words where images suggest something much more creative. Can we blame Nicodemus for wondering how to reenter his mother’s womb when Jesus suggests that he can be born again? Or the Samaritan woman who is not sure why she needs water from a well other than the one Jacob provided for her people?

never out of water
click on picture to enlarge

But then, when we think it’s beyond hope, ‘the wind blows where it pleases’ and Jesus’ listeners slowly begin to recognize who he truly is. This must be the movement of the Spirit, teaching those who seem incapable of learning, opening in hearts and minds a space for a new creation. This is the life we hope to live in community -- one open to the teaching and creational work of the Spirit.

In our community we similarly find ourselves at different points of understanding on the spiritual journey. Some of us, recently baptized, have just put on our walking shoes to begin this life-long journey. Some having committed to living an intentional spiritual life in community decades ago, are well-travelled and know the terrain intimately. Still others of us have been listening to Jesus’ words and teachings for decades and just don’t get it. Our hearts still need to be opened to basic teachings on how to live a spiritual life. But even with community, when patterns seem set in stone, the Spirit blows through our communal life, taking up our individual experiences. As in a collage, the resulting story is rich, multi-layered, full of surprises and grace. We’re grateful for the enthusiasm of the new believer to remind us of our first-love experiences of the Spirit. We’re gifted to have seasoned travelers as guides and friends to help discern the Spirit’s call in difficult decisions. And in humility we’re led to confess that too often we stubbornly stick by our human understandings and simply refuse to get it.

This edition reflects our longing in community to learn to live a spiritual life. We want to learn to be open to the Spirit’s presence, listen for God’s guidance and deepen our relationship with Christ so that our life together can reflect the beauty of dwelling in God’s love.

Joel Penner and Erik Berg write about their new-faith experiences of baptism in Following Christ in the Frigid Water and Stepping into God's Love.

Arthur Paul Patterson gives advice to an upcoming high school graduate on how to enter the unknown future with faith in Letter to a Young Man.

In Finding the New in the Old: A Review of Simply Christian, Lydia Penner revisits the Christian Story through new eyes in responding to N.T. Wright's book.

In Weakness Made Strong by Arthur Paul Patterson we overhear first-century discernment on how to live spiritually in culture.

In Lessons in Leadership, Arthur Paul Patterson points out Emperor Claudius' unexpected leadership credentials.

In I Believe in Dialogue, Arthur Paul Patterson instructs us to move beyond arguing against our detractors and toward at least hearing, if not understanding, differing beliefs through conversation.

In State of the Union, Eldon Heinrichs discovers the battle of lesser gods as he negotiates the minefield between union and management.

In Unplugged and Awake, Linda Tiessen Wiebe explores The Matrix's invitation to awaken to reality, and invites us to take a step further.

In A Response of Heroes of History, Joel Penner summarizes Will Durant's brief history of civilization from ancient times to the dawn of the modern age.

In Michelangelo: the Ephemeral and the Eternal, Oscar Del Santo unveils the inspirational art of Michelangelo.

In The Truth Can Set You Free, Linda Tiessen Wiebe finds truth revealed in the telling words and life of 12-year-old Harriet, the main character in Donna Tartt's Little Friend.

In Deconstructing Mission, Cal Wiebe discovers that mission means a dismantling of his own agenda.

Also In This Edition

The Watershed Online: An Introductory Video reflects on the prophetic tradition which views the spiritual life as a movement from wasteland to the generative life-giving waters of Christ. Listen in on our studies of scripture on our new audio page called Keep Your Ear to the Ground. In Like a Fish - Never Out Of Water, Bev Patterson parallels the process of creating our feature collage with the Spirit's work of connecting what is disconnected in our lives.

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