Saturday, July 31, 2010

Anam Chara by any other name . . .

What is now called "spiritual direction", was referrred to as Anam Chara or soul care in the ancient church. It involved nurture and support, as well as healing and restoration. It was in this context that spiritual formation occurred. As the disciplines were practiced, the Holy Spirit was about the work of transformation. Today we have fragmented what was once one life-giving fellowship in Christ. Spiritual direction, discipleship, spiritual formation, healing and more were all one in the early church.

Patti and I have discussed what we sense this may look like in our churches, and concluded it happens more in small, intimate groups ("two or more"). It is both an equipping and receiving "ministry" that all followers of Christ should be involved in. It also looks very different for every individual or group depending on their seasons of life, etc. It is clearly something that can have some structure, but not so much that the Spirit is quenched. It is also clearly dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit for any fruit to grow.

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