Spirituality and the Disciplines: Priority Reading for the Pastor -- By: Brian H. Moore
ATJ 26 (1994) p. 132
Spirituality and the Disciplines:
Priority Reading for the Pastor
The Reverend Brian H. Moore is pastor of Saint James Brethren Church near Hagerstown, MD. A graduate of ATS, he currently is a D.Min. cadidate specializing in spiritual formation and ministry.
God is doing a new thing in our time! A renewed hungering and thirsting after righteousness has appeared in the church - and even in society in general. This desire has likely been spawned by the sense of powerlessness in the church and the barrenness of the affluent life society has created for itself in the late twentieth century. The “good life” that was supposed to be available in the lap of luxury has escaped us again! The desire for something transcendent has also been stimulated by a deep fear that we, as a society, as a world, are lost and hopeless. The problems facing us are beyond comprehension, not to mention solution. “When all around my soul gives way”, what shall be my hope and stay? These situations have created an ideal climate for God to reach out to His empty creatures and fill them with Himself. Admittedly, all the quest for the transcendent is not Christian. In this fertile soil, sub-Christian or even anti-Christian elements also flourish. Good
ATJ 26 (1994) p. 133
Good soil produces better weeds as well as better crops! Spirituality alone is ambiguous. “Spirituality is a slippery word” (Steven Harper, Class Lecture, “The Spiritual Life of the Minister”, Ashland Theological Seminary, July 19, 1993). Spirituality must be qualified. “The goal of Christian spirituality is conformity to Christ - not togetherness, or meditation, or acceptance. The issue is discipleship. Discipleship is learning from Jesus Christ how to live my life as he would live it if he were me.” (Dallas Willard, Interview, Renovare, 3, 4.)
God seems to be doing a new thing in our time, and yet, from another perspective, God has been doing this same thing throughout the ages of Christian history. He has always had a people who were not satisfied with the status quo, people who sought something deeper, more vital and rich in a living relationship with Him. Their lives have been a witness to the living presence of Jesus Christ among His people. Their testimony through life and writings stands to call us all to that transcendent dimension of existence which lifts us out of a functional or mechanical mode to that realm closer to the imago dei within us.
In the first section of this paper I will review two books which give a historical overview to Christian spirituality.
In the second section, I will highlight
ATJ 26 (1994) p. 134
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