A Practical Christianity: Chapter 4

One of my coaches has said that a necessary and particularly daunting task for us in the church is to make change a positive value.  Indeed, being open and present to transformation is one of the most challenging spiritual practices there is.  Does seeing God the Holy Trinity,  and the Holy Spirit in particular, as the unrepentant Disturber (as Jane Shaw puts it) change your openness to God?  How have you seen the presence of God in the turbulence of change?

3 thoughts on “A Practical Christianity: Chapter 4

  1. I love the concept of the Holy Spirit as “unrepentant Disturber.” My entire life as an ordained minister of this church has been spent trying to keep up with the enormous change wrought by that same Spirit in the renewal and mission of the Church — from liturgical and charismatic renewal through increasing inclusion and empowerment of African Americans, women, gays and lesbians, to a rediscovery of mission (not the mission of the Church so much as “God’s mission” of reconciliation of which the Church is a part). It’s been — and continues to be — quite a ride!

  2. I don’t think that (at least for me) it’s a matter of seeing God in the midst of change (or, anywhere else!), but rather recognizing God’s spirit. We see things all the time that, if you went back over it in your mind, would clearly be recognizable as being “of God”, but having that understanding while in the midst of it, that’s a real gift of the Spirit.

    In my parish, we are in the midst of change (we are seeking a new rector), and one of my fervent prayers for us as a parish, and as individual parishoners, is to have that recognition experience while we are in the middle of things. Turbulence is a strong word, but for us, even though we don’t “see” a lot of change right now, I can feel that, and in some way I feel I should be praying for more of it :-).

    So, hmmm. Trying to stay humble and open to God’s Mission in the midst our personal and corporate turbulence, certainly that’s at least one of the challenges!

  3. ‘Seeing God’ is what chapter 4 is about…and the author correctly talks about this vision in terms of ‘glimpses of God’…for me these glimpses have come from being trained in recognizing ‘absolutes’ and polarities that attend each absolute…each ‘glimpse of God’ attends ones’ unique vocation e.g. the vocation of an artist with the Absolute of Beauty versus a watchmaker and the Absoulute of Time or a lawyer with Law…just another lover and Love versus the beloved and Love….

    Its’ more than just glimpsing the Absolute God each of us uniquely and vocationally encounters…it includes responding…God needs us to respond…we ‘eat’ God on Sundays because we need the nourishment…and then there is being thirsty…all the ‘living’ experience the Absolute of Thirst..’what ya think?’ This internet, right now, serves to link all of our vocational glimpses of God…a unique experience of Absolute Word for our generation, right now, in front of us….do you see it….respond…

    The Holy Spirit, ‘as a disturber’ (does other things also), can operate via the polarities…yes there has been the inclusion of women, African Americans, etc. etc. but the complimentary polar opposites of men and White Americans, Chinese Americans etc. etc. will always be present…polarities are about maintaining balance and they also limit absolute possibilites e.g. you may experience the Absolute of Orgasm being a juicy Lucy, via pedofilia or beastiality..but the Absolute of Law (and its’ attending polarites) and other accepted experiences of this Absolute of Orgasm will limit, must limit, those orgasmic possibilities of pedofilia, beastiality, etc. etc….give your cat a break….thats why there is no mention of cats in the scripture…what ya think?

    For Episcopalians the balance between polarities is something of the Via Media (which we inherited from the ancient Jewish hermeneutical principle of the qal vahomer)…and this Via Media is a place for great prayer (and leadership). With the ‘inclusion’ of women only a small step has been made…much must yet be done to bring balance…for males it’s going to take prayer to a new level…women must be able to ‘understand’ the absolute of Freedom and its’ attending polarities…

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