Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Living Spiritual Rhythms - March 6

In theory, Christians acknowledge the importance of having the Bible as the map for the journey, but in practice they tend to ignore it in favor of what they interpret as the direct intervention and revelation of the Spirit. Personal and immediate prompting's are assumed to be more spiritual than a careful contemplation of the map. And at what cost? The expense is spiritual impoverishment. There are an unfortunate set of similarities between some of the make-it-up-as-we-go-along views in our culture, and those operating in some Christian circles. These should remind us of our tendency toward false absolutization and the danger of self-deception. Lamentably, biblical map studies often turn into mumbo jumbo, where ambiguity and hyper-subjectivity are as prominent as they are in non-Christian contexts. Cultivated and honed map-reading skills are less prevalent and regrettably marginalized when it comes to our views of spirituality.

Let’s say you meet with twenty-four other people for a Bible study where you all read the same part of the Scriptural map. But then you all “discover” that the Spirit revealed a different interpretation of the map to each of you. And you all piously maintain that your perspective was given to you directly from the Spirit. That would mean that the Spirit is telling each of you to head off in different directions according to your own personal revelation. While this might be possible, it is highly unlikely. This view is closer to relativism than it is to the guidance of the Spirit. The high risk of interpretive self-deception here must not go unchecked.