Friday, 19 May 2017


SPIRITUALITY – Life is about More than What We See – Read to page 18

Some readers have expressed concern about the placement of Part 1.  The book is about religion but Part 1 is about spirituality - seems to be out of place at first glance.  I did struggle with this placement.  Should we not first establish "what is truth?" before learning to live it?  Would it have been better placed at the end of the book?  

Our search for truth is first of all not simply intellectual and logical.  This does sound strange to our western ears where truth is propositional, arrived at through hard intellectual work (philosophy).  According to the Judeo-Christian worldview, truth is first of all relational, knowing God with the heart.   Part 1 is all about connecting with God relationally: spirituality is all about encountering and learning to live with Jesus 24/7.  I placed Part 1 at the beginning to help prepare readers for such a mindset.   Our search for truth must begin with the awareness that we are first of all looking for someone rather than just propositional factual answers.  

John 14:6,  Proverbs 9:10 (in Hebrew "knowing" means relational knowing rather than simply informational knowing) 1 Corinthians 1: 20-25

1) Does everyone have a set of Ultimate Life Questions and Answers?  When do we have to wrestle with them?  Does such a set of questions and answers point to the reality of a deeper spiritual dimension?  Some would say that the presence of such questions is simply the result of cultural conditioning.  Discuss.

2) Discuss the list of spiritual characteristics provided (pg 7-10).  Agree / disagree / additions / deletions.

3) Compare a person who is healthy physically but is suffering with the spiritual needs listed in Page 7-10,  compare that person with someone who has brokenness in the body but has a healthy spirituality.  Which dimension of our being is founndational, more important?  How should this realization reorient our lives?

4) Psychology and Psychiatry study many of these characteristics.  The lack of these characteristics in individuals have become syndromes and have received labels.  Medicine and therapy seek to medicate and moderate these deficits.  How does this secular effort to understand and help impact our understanding of these characteristics in terms of them being spiritual characteristics at root?   If these syndromes do have a spiritual dimension, then what more is needed to bring long term healing at a deeper level?

) Many non-religious people seem to have many of these wholesome spiritual characteristics.  Many religious people lack these characteristics.  How do we process this from a Biblical perspective?

Beginning thoughts:  
a) All blessings are from God, whether recognized or not. 

b) We need to compare ourselves not with others but with our own previous selves.  Are we personally becoming healthier spiritually?  The standard for true spirituality is ultimately Jesus. 

c) When life is easy we all seem well, when stresses come that is when the cracks appear.  A lot of these weaknesses can be muffled with a good public facade, a mask if you will.  Becoming personally honest with one's self is necessary for growth / healing in these areas.

d) A lot of westernized Christianity is anemic, as a result, provides little healing in these areas. There is nothing more dangerous than religion / spirituality gone bad, nothing more wholesome than religion / spirituality that is true.

e) Jesus addresses this issue in Luke 5:31-32  The church often seems to be filled with broken people simply because it is they who recognize their need for a redeemer.  

6How do we envision God?  (pg 16 ff)  Does our concept of God impact how we process our relationship with God?   Isaiah 57:15  Revelation 3:20 Galatians 2:20 John 14:23 but then to keep our perspective balanced Colossians 1:15-20

7) Luke 15 :11 ff   Restoring the relationship with the father was the key to the son’s well being on so many different levels.  Take a closer look at the older brother as well.  What is missing in his life?  What needs to happen if he is to come in?

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