I have fabulous friends. I get to hang out with people I've known for a while and some whom I've not known long and get to talk about life and stories and where they are and how they process information and it's just fascinating. I had one such conversation today with AZ. She's an absolutely brilliant, luminous person and she's pursuing a Master's Degree in poetry. Or something like that. I just call it Poetry School. She's doing great at it and is really exploring who she is through this experience and I am in awe of her bravery. Today we hung out for a while and got to talking about church and theology stuff and we are feeling the same way when it comes to sitting around and bandying about theoreticals. We really prefer real life to make-believe these days. Part of our conversation in particular dealt with the phenomenon of formation and transformation.
I have become more of a primitivist as time has gone on. I'm sure that will change, but that's where I am right now. I feel like the best way to be spiritually formed, as individuals and as communities is to function the most Trinitarian way possible, as Jesus modeled. We listen to God the Father (or Creator, as you prefer), and carry out God's will by the power of the Holy Spirit as we live lives of incarnational presence. We can learn how to do that from studying scripture. Kind of sums it up for me. Gathering with people of like mind is encouraging, but doesn't accomplish anything with regard transformation. We are transformed, according to Jung, by encountering the other. If our churches continue to be shrines to homogeneaity, then no one will be changed, they'll just feel warm and fuzzy inside. We have to work to go outside of what is comfortable in our communities and in ourselves and really see what God sees and do what Jesus did.
I'm preparing a sermon on Jesus as the Learning Teacher, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when I came across this quote from The Gospel of Jesus at Yearning for God:
"Jesus came to grips with the basic intentions of people. He addressed them personally, as to what kind of people they were. He called on them--he did not just teach them ideas. When we take his sayings and distill from them our doctrines, what we have really done is manipulate his sayings for our own purposes, first of all, for the purpose of avoiding his personal address to us. Without realizing it, we reclassify his sayings as objective teachings to which we can give intellectual assent, rather than letting them strike home as the personal challenge he intended them to be. The issue is not what we think about them, but rather what we do about them" (xiv).
Yeah...what he said.