Sunday, April 15, 2007

We Theology

I've been thinking about spiritual growth and how we measure it.

As Americans/Westerners everything is about the individual. Almost all of our efforts in churches are geared toward the individual. The very few matrices/assessments I've seen for spiritual growth are generally geared toward the individual--asking how "you" can grow and measuring how "you" have grown.

Perhaps that is the influence of Descartes (of "I think, therefore I am" fame), but I don't think it is in rhythm with the New Testament and OT, lest I engage in some sort of super-sessionism.

The controlling metaphor, it could be argued, in the NT for Christians is "the body of Christ." Now as I understand it, when my lungs go someplace, my liver usually goes along for the trip. For instance, I am currently in Tulsa, OK wrapping up a wedding. None of my body parts decided to pre-emptively stay home in Richmond. All of me went along.

If that is the case, and it is what Paul was meaning when he used that metaphor, then shouldn't spiritual growth be measured by how WE are growing rather then simply how I am growing?

If I read my Bible, love more, serve more, etc. but we don't all take steps forward, then is spiritual growth in NT terms actually happening? Or I am just on a personal growth plan that essentially says "to hell with everyone else" but has been unwittingly endorsed by the current system of Christianity? Maybe Moses understood this when he told God if his people were going to be cut off, then cut him off too. (See the tail-end of the story in Exodus 32:30-33.) This just doesn't make sense in our individualistic "make-sure-you-yourself-know-where-you-will-spend-eternity" ethos.

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