Thursday, October 30, 2008

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue.

I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Do you think there’s a place for the self in Christian spirituality?


Susan Barnes said...

Yes. I don't think God wants puppets or robots.

There's a song we sometimes sing here that has a line that bothers me. The line is addressed to God and says, "All my life, take over." I actually don't think that it is God's intention to take over our lives but rather He wants to work through our lives.

Greg said...

Thanks for your excellent insights.

Thinking of songs and hymns, it seems to me that sometimes the theology expressed in them is encouraging a - becoming a zero - spirituality, which sounds spiritual to some, but leaves Christian spirituality out of the rhythm of life with God.

John said...

Greg and Susan,
I absolutely agree with both of you. The self is very important, because we are made in God's image with different gifts. We're supposed to use them; it's in the creational mandate!

I also agree about the hymns/"praise and worship" encouraging a "becoming a zero" mentality, one that I see in so many Christians, and one that seems to be so harmful! Where has the substance gone in Christianity, and why are so many afraid to embrace the substance?

The Walk said...

I think there are mistakes made both ways--that we are to become non-entities and like door-mats, or that by having a relationship with Christ we will become Highly Effective People.

I think it's been a big problem for me at times, thinking that I should be God's robot. At the same time, I notice a lot of people tend to fall into a sort of counter-camp. And neither idea is correct.

The answer isn't in the in-between, but in glimpsing God for who He is--magnificent, holy, loving.

As Christ-followers, He is the focus for our lives, and we build our lives around the goal of drawing near to Him, of being His disciples. As we draw near to Christ, we discover that He doesn't throw away who we are, our dreams, hurts, personalities...He is the great Recycler. He restores who we are, washing every part of us in His grace...

We are the hands and feet of Christ here in this hurting, broken world, and have the opportunity to allow everything we say and think and do to be an act of worship to our loving Creator. To have it be more and more so that when people experience us they experience Him.

Greg said...


Thanks for your helpful thoughts. I think part of the reason that substance is not embraced is because many are not taught that it's there. Lots of churches present a water downed version of the faith or a hyper blessing one, often missing the core truths that are crucial to living substantial lives for Christ.

Greg said...

The walk,

Good points. Thanks.

Door mats or super compentent are both traps that are easy to fall into. God is often seen to be out to be the great zero maker or the one who will make us wealthy, wise, and efficient.

I agree. There is no in-between here. Both poles represent unspiritual Christian living.

Christ washes us with his blood - a massive bucket of it drenched over us that never goes dry and this frees us from having to embrace poles that leave us far from him. Pointing others to this blood and freedom is indeed a privilige and a responsibility. In love and grace we are to make every attempt to hold out this word of life to hurting and broken world.

John said...

Do you really think that substance is lacking being taught? And if so, how do we move towards this, towards a fuller Christianity? I guess this is what bugs me about American Christianity - it is so watered down, small-worldview, and infantile, yet it's such a monster and is so hard (if not impossible!) to change!

Greg said...

Yes, I do fear there is a lack of substantial teaching in many areas, notably the Bible and culture to just name two.

Change? We need the power of the HS to sweep over us and to work hard at coming back to ideas and how they relate to living spirituality.

Seems to me that Christian spirituality is a key area. Many Christians try to make it up as they go along, and are never told there's a problem with that.

I know what you mean. It is a "monster." When we see something so big, it's easy to want to just give up. Try to focus on people, one at a time, and stay away from monsters.