Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Comments on Understanding Spiritual Formation

Received another comment on my article Understanding Spiritual Formation published on the Ooze.

Having come from a pretty conservative evangelical background and having been through a charismatic church while studying abroad, I find myself very unsure when it comes to all things spiritual.

On one hand I grew up having the notion that all these "mystical" experiences are to be at best treated with the utmost caution, on the other hand I was in a church where emotional experiences were the norm. I can not help be extremely skeptical. Maybe thats why I haven't and might even be fearful of having the kind of experiences and visions that you speak of.

However I find the notion of spiritual formation very appealing as compared to the programs that I find being churned out by the different churches.

My question is where can I go from here? How can I redeem Christianity from the solely intellectual realm that I have banished it to?


It seems you have experiences with evangelicalism and the Spirit-filled life. These are wonderful experiences and need to be cherished.

Spiritual formation is not a program or a formula. Basically it means following Jesus and trying to do things as Jesus will do until suddenly you discover that your character is like Christ.

How do you redeem your Christianity from a solely intellectual realm? First, celebrate and thank God that you have the knowledge of the word and of God. Enjoy your spiritual experiences from the charismatic movement. Acknowledge your emotions. Then reflect on all these: intellectual; experiences; emotions in the light of the word of God. Make an intentional decision that you will do exactly what Jesus would have done if Jesus is in your situation. This means living out your daily life in the light of your understanding of the Gospels. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Make informed choices. Be involved with a missional community of faith. Build relationships. Look after the poor.

Dallas Willard in his book, Renovation of the Heart uses the acronym VIM.
V-vision of what God wants you to be-like Jesus.
I-intention. Make a conscious decision to follow Jesus .
M-means. Spiritual disciplines that helps you to become more like Jesus.

Brian McLaren in a posting on a blog, www.anewkindofconversation.com shares spiritual formation= knowledge + experiences + relationship + practices + suffering + service+ time.

Hope this is useful.

Wanna join in the conversation here

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