So, I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts and feelings recently. I’ve had several significant experiences in the last few months, but I haven’t really put into words, much less on paper, what the results of those have been. The experiences were: The Passion of the Christ, The Purpose Driven Life, the Canvas Group plan at the Rock, mission trip to Honduras, Casting Crowns concert.
None of these is entirely separate either. I started the 40 Days only four days after seeing the Passion for the first time. The 40 Days encompassed my trip to Honduras. I saw the Passion for the second time while in Honduras. And all of it is still being colored by OneDay, the Passion Experience Tour, and all the talks I’ve been listening to since then (Passion talks, GCM talks, Rock talks…).
It seems as if all these events & experiences are interwoven. Ideas, concepts, images crossing over from one to another. I’d like to be able to say, “here’s what I learned from these experiences.” But I can’t seem to get a good grasp on what I have learned. As I would read something, or hear something, I would think of something else I had read or heard… but trying to bring it all into focus is hard.
I have all kinds of scattered notes – things scribbled here and there. It’s a tangled web, that’s for sure. I remember a diagram we used in my nutrition class. It was called the Diagram from Hell because it showed all the interactions between nutrients within the body. It looked like nonsense. As if someone had just written words and then randomly started connecting them from every direction. I think that’s what my spiritual life looks like right now. All the various sources of information are interacting with each other and with me and with other people.
In the very generalest sense (and I realize that “generalest” is probably not a word), here are the themes that have been surfacing around me lately… God’s Glory, the Crucifixion, living by grace, identity in Christ, SHAPE, purpose in life, servanthood, roles within the Body, suffering & trials, unity of believers.
None of that is really surprising, given the experiences I had… right? That’s true. It is all pretty obvious. I have nothing new or profound to offer. I learned exactly what each event was supposed to portray. So I guess it’s not that what I learned was surprising. What was surprising what how much the lessons overlapped between events. Verses, phrases & concepts showed up in more than one place. My mom said it seems as if all of Christianity is having the same ideas all at once. “Maybe it’s a God-thing,” she said. Hmmm…
Even some older talks from the Rock have resonated the same issues, like Mad World (FS02, I think). So maybe it’s not that these things are new (“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9). But maybe I’ve just been adjusted, fine-tuned, so that I can pick up on these things. I guess that’s part of growing and maturing. But the other part is acting on what you’ve learned (“Anyone who hears the Word but does not do what it says, you are like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:23-24) I’m not sure if I’m acting on what I’m learning. I’m not sure my behavior is reflecting my insight. I guess one of the next things I need to do is to ask those around me if they see anything different – if they can tell what I’ve been learning through how I’ve been acting.
Another thing I really want to do is to find someone who is gifted in and is passionate about helping people find their place within the Body. I’ve done spiritual gift tests and seminars, but I still don’t feel like I know where I fit. I’m not sure what I’m truly passionate about (except serving God and helping people – which is pretty vague).
I’ve also started seeking out books, songs, talks, etc. that are connected to these 10 concepts. For example, this week I’m reading the manual from a Dawson McAllister conference called “A Walk with Christ to the Cross.” It melds the four Gospel stories of the crucifixion and resurrection and presents a timeline of Christ’s journey to the Cross.