Saturday, August 14, 2010

the longest journey

"The longest journey that a man must take is the 18 inches between his head to his heart."

This anonymous quote is full of God's Wisdom and Truth. It speaks to the dichotomy between head knowledge and heart knowledge, the difference between empirical knowledge and true wisdom that flows from the Father.

We can know much about God (head knowledge), without knowing (heart knowledge) God. It is God's Spirit (the Holy Spirit) within us that attests to the Truth of our identity in Christ, and hence our unity with the Holy Trinity. Without the "second" baptism (to born again as Jesus taught Nicodemus) we can not attain to this divine heart knowledge. It is the baptism in the Spirit, or the release of the Spirit within us that heart knowledge becomes possible . . . where true Wisdom lies waiting to be revealed.

This aspect of our Christian life is nurtured by discipleship, by being discipled and by discipling others. It is the "work" of partnering with God as His Spirit does the work of transformation (formation in Christ) in every believer. All the ancient fathers and mothers understood the necessity of "experiencing God", beyond head knowledge. These experiences often occur during or because of our efforts in the disciplines. God desires to honor our efforts as we seek Him, practicing the disciplines in season as God leads.

This life is for every person who desires to live the abundant life Jesus promised. It is a journey, a process, which has seasons that are different for every person and their circumstances. It looks different for every person, but it has in common the idea of a "journey" we are all on together. This life happens in community, while there are contemplative aspects of it, we are always called to community, to discipling one another. Or, as the Celtic saints called it, Anam Chara (soul care). As Larry Crabb suggests, "connecting" is the soul care we should be craving, that connection of the Spirit in each of us, then the formation we experience as we disciple one another.

Discipleship is THE WORK of the church (whether institutional or the true Body of Christ). Without discipleship there is no Christ, and without Christ there is no "church". (Bonhoeffer)

Are you on that long journey from head to heart, find someone to take it with you; spiritual partner, soul friend, small intimate group covenanted to discipling.

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