Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Spiritual Rhythms of Life for Today

After the resurrection and Jesus’ earthly departure, the Holy Spirit arrives as a gift and the presence of the Crucified and Risen One himself. The Holy Spirit therefore personally and spiritually integrates us into community with God. I believe that if the Holy Spirit had not come, Christianity would have slowly ground to a halt because there would have been no ongoing and vital connection between Jesus’ followers and God. The arrival of the post-ascension Holy Spirit establishes a holy continuity with what had come previously, thereby affirming the holiness of the Father and the Son. One of the outstanding authorial intentions and communicative actions of the Holy Spirit is that the Spirit writes, not on tablets of stone, but on hearts that come to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. “Written on hearts,” as it were, become sensitive to God’s direction, and seek to live in spiritual ways that manifest life out into the world.


Robynn said...

Greg, these are good words to being a new year. I appreciate how your words create space for contemplation. My question concerns the Spirit's engagement with hearts. If we are to have the Spirit writing on our hearts, does this not mean that there is a necessary element of emotion to our faith? What seems to complicate this aspect even more for me is that we have so many "voices" vying for our attention (i.e. culture, self, texts). How do we engage with the Spirit on an emotional level without compromising our faith and making it into something that becomes dependent on emotive experiences? I'm curious what you think.

Greg said...

Thanks. Yes, I think there would be an element of emotion connected to the Spirit written heart, otherwise this realtionality wouldn't be holistic, but monological. Good point about the many voices or might we say "authors" who clamor for our fidelity - who do we read and be read by? Which authors are trustworthy?

Perhaps, a dialogical perspective will help us when it comes to not becoming dependent on emotive experiences for our faith, while nevertheless acknowledging that emotion is rightly part of it.

The major problem of reductionism haunts on several fronts. Recognizing the need for a dialogue with the many facets of who we are, may help us steer clear of the tendency to embrace emotive experiences on their own, or to ignore them all together.

Robynn said...

Thanks for bringing in the aspect of dialogue. I think that was probably one of the most profound aspects of my experience at L'Abri; the idea of dialogue, that we do not have to engage in a "battle" so to speak with other perspectives. Thank you, too, for the reminder that we do not live in an "either/or" world; that kind of world is reductive and atrophies who we are becoming.

Right now I am reading several books to prepare for my classes that begin next week. The idea of being read by these authors as well as reading them is interesting... Virginia Woolf is a voice that I am drawn to as of late. Her style is haunting, and I am curious to read more of her work. Others include T.S. Eliot and Thoreau. As I engage with these texts, I realize that we are changed by what we read (and by what reads us); so how do we bring these voices into dialogue with who we are becoming without compromising what we have found to be true in the process? I will continue to ponder these ideas as the chorus of "voices" expands over the semester.

Thanks again for continuing the conversation.

Greg said...

You are working with some very pertinent questions.

My take on this would be the following. Being in dialogue with several voices (authors) will be both a challenge to and a affirmation of what we have previously found to be true. We are changed, in Ricoeur's terms refigured, through the encounter with the text. Refiguration could be seeing anew that which one previously held, or seeing it differently. We start from where we are and then have to be discerning about that, where we're going, and why.

Maybe it's important to clarify where one stands in the first place. To compromise a truth previously held assumes that that truth is an actuality. In that case, it would be a truth that is open to other truth claims, but not so open that it is not an actuality. It would, if it were to be compromised, have to be shown to be untrue and therefore not worth believing. At that point, whether one was to continue to believe it or not, would be their call.