The focus yesterday at Six:Eight was the idea of spiritual formation and the need for our inner and outer lives to be congruent.
It is a sign of maturity and health along the journey of following Jesus that we are whole and integrated people. Our outer lives (the behavior we let others see), match our inner lives (the things that are really going on in our hearts, as well as the behavior that goes on behind closed doors).
One of the contributing factors to a fractured life, in which the inner and outer realities are not congruent, has been _ unwittingly, to be sure _ the Modern Church.
By taking an academic approach to a life of faith, the Modern Church emphasized trasmittal of information about right doctrine and theology, but wrongly assumed that by so doing, they were leading people in how to walk the journey of having a relationship with God.
In fact, the journey and the relationship were largely left to the side in favor of instruction. Without question, instruction is important, as is right doctrine. But those truths come in the context of the Great Story God is writing, as we find our place in it. The principles do not come to us in a textbook. Rather, it is only as we take the journey, and enter the relationship that those other truths come to light and shape us.
Rather than a dynamic, vibrant, interactive connection with God, we got bullet-point outlines telling us the 3 keys to a happy marriage; the 5 steps to success in growing as a Christian, and all the rest. We got management tips and other techniques which didn’t form anything of Jesus in our hearts, but sure made us look really efficient in our religion.
So it is no wonder then that we are now, in the 21st Century, seeing a need to recapture the journey and the relationship in our approach. In fact, many of us began recapturing these things in the latter stages of the 2oth Century.
There is also a corollary to all this, the Taming of God (which will be the subject of later posts), which has had disastrous consequences both inside and outside the community of faith.