Monday, 19 July 2010
The Spirit's Edge 2
Continuing Untamed's great chapter on The Holy Spirit and his manifestation in the life of the church.
Where The Spirit is there are lots of little Jesuses
I must say I felt uncomfortable with this ,it seems quite irreverent -except that we are called to be followers and to have the likeness of Christ "to be transformed into His likeness" and I suppose the authours are right when they say if we are not being transformed there is something deeply wrong with our spirituality. The Holy Spirit is not given primarily to make us more peaceful or happy or content (let alone more traditional!) The Spirit of Christ is given to make us more like Jesus as individuals and as a community.
Let there be love
A key manifestation of the Spirit's presence is love.
There have been many times when I have sensed the Spirit moving powerfully among His people ,Love is always present. " God pours out His love into our hearts by The Holy Spirit He has given us" This does not mean Christians won't disagree, sometimes pretty robustly, It does mean we learn to disagree gracefully (or as one writer puts it to fight gracefully!) But the love Alan and Debra are talking about is not simply love between Christians, but love that Christians should have for others which I guess is a driving force for all mission, as Paul puts it "The Love of Christ compels us"
Let there be a learning community
Alan Hirsch says when he became a Christian it felt as if his mind had caught fire! The life of The Spirit brings a passionate desire to learn about God and His creation.
Christians should never stop learning or studying -God gave us our minds so that we use them and not neglect them .God's people are called to use our minds for Him.
I suppose one of the lasting legacies of the reformation has been a desire to study the Bible but also God's world. Thats why Christian missionaries have often founded schools and universities!
I want our church to be a church where emotion runs deep (if we don't feel emotional about our faith there is something wrong) but we shouldn't just feel emotional we should also use our reason -there is nothing unspiritual about that
Let there be some miracles
I suppose this adds balance to the previous point. Sometimes church can get so comfortable we live as though we don't believe in a God who acts; who does something & who is moving powerfully in this world as Debra and Alan succinctly put it "Bah Humbug to all the liberal theologies that disregard the clearly supernatural aspects of live in God ." It was Carey who said "Attempt great things for God -Expect great things from God " I wonder if we too often stop expecting to see God move? "We should hope for a whole lot more of those gracious interventions we call miracles."
Let there be spiritual maturity
We won't ever mature as Christians if we don't or wont open our hearts to the work of the Spirit How could we?It is The Spirit who makes us into the likeness of Christ
Let there be a lot more discernment
Hirsch's point here is that "Discernment is a gift of the Spirit given to the church so that we can safely negotiate our (complex) world" and discern between good and evil
I will leave the last 3 signs of The Spirits presence to the next blog post. However I find these points both inspiring and deeply challenging. We can drift along doing things in the way we have always done them or we can let our lives be transformed by the Spirit . if we are not open to The Spirit's work in our life then we are not being made more like Jesus, and no wonder then that people associate church with boredom. If we are open to The Spirit then life will be more edgy It's risky yes ,but very exciting !