Tuesday, September 21, 2010


On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself." "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
-Luke 10:25-28

Why do you suppose Jesus answered his question with another question? And why would Jesus ask an expert 'how do you read it'? Do you remember what Jesus talked about after that little exchange? The expert went further to ask 'who is my neighbor' and Jesus segued into a story about the Good Samaritan. The story itself struck at the heart of the matter-you may know what is expected of you, but will you do it?
God gave us freewill-the ability to make decisions on our own...good or bad. It's one of the many characteristics/abilities God gave us when He made us in 'His' image and also led to our eventual boot from the Garden-God told Adam and Eve to NOT to do.
Anyway, over the past 75-some years there's been this great disconnect concerning our relationship to God. We currently live in a 'consumer-based' culture, which has led to the gradual deteriation of relationships, but the bottom line is that we don't know God as we should. In an age of 'information' where it's at your very finger tips-sometimes daily and literally, we may know 'stats' about God, but we really don't have a vested interest in growing deeper in our understanding of God.
Again, lets go back to the above scripture-the expert knew what was written about God, but Jesus really asked him what he thought God was trying to say. Interestingly enough, the expert had to feel 'justified' and asked Jesus 'who is my neighbor'...as if he didn't know who his neighbor was...but I think this story fits well with what we see in today's culure. There's a reason why books like 'unChristian' by David Kinnaman, 'The Christian Atheist' by Craig Groeschel, or 'Loving God When You Don't Love the Church' by Chris Jackson. There is a broken world because of this disconnect-this lack of understanding what a true relationship is and not just between friends or loved ones, but with God.
So how do we open the door for understanding and healing? I think it starts by recognizing that there are those of us who learn differently-some of us are a sponge and information works fine, but there are those of us who learn by watching and doing. We also need to be mindful that each of us are in a different place concerning our spiritual journey-some of us carry scars left by Christians and are broken or lost, some of us have found the path of mercy and forgiveness, but some of us who are doing pretty well in our walk aren't doing enough to help those among us who aren't in such a good place. Hence the parable of the Good Samaritan...even the priest passed by on the otherside of the road-sure he would have taken pity on the man, but he didn't.
So what's better? To know merely information about God or to have a relationship with God?
Now, remember...this is only Part I of this series. I don't know how many there will be, but I do plan to share more. I hope to share more and even upload something based on 'A Circle of Sensibility'. So stay tuned!
*Don't forget to share your thoughts and comment...


pitcher12k said...

I have a question..I'm not sure I understand how this is about spirituality...I guess what I'm asking is, what is your definition of 'Christian Spirituality' or just spirituality?
What you say about the Good Samaritan story is something I can relate to...I think we all know what to do, but we don't just do what we know we should :(
It reminds me of a quote I read somewhere: "There are two reasons why people do not do something when in ethical conflict, either they do not know what to do, or more likely, they know exactly what to do, but lack the moral courage to follow through."
I don't think that is word for word, but it gets the idea across.
I am also curious where you got the 75-some years figure...perhaps that will be explained in later posts?
You make a good point concerning knowing facts about God and knowing God personally, one of which will have a much bigger impact on your life (and those around you) than the other one.
Have you read any of those books? I am interested in reading 'The Christian Atheist' and was wondering how good it is.

Jeff said...

Thanks for writing and I'm glad you asked the questions that you did. I define Christian Spirituality as always growing in our understanding of what it means to be 'Christlike'. I won't get into the various spiritual disciiplines that help with such growth and understanding, but I think you may have answered your own question when you said 'you make a good point concerning knowing facts about God and knowing God personally'. That is the disconnect I speak of and why I chose the scripture and mentioned the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Concerning the '75-some years' figure...it's closer to 100 years really. I mean a lot has changed in the family and cultural dynamics. Think little house in the prairie and skip to now...that is a lot of change and change is hard. I mean the poney express was how mail was done, now we have it on our mobile phones. Sure it's easier, but it lacks that personal touch doesn't it? Heck, I think a typed letter with an actual signature is great.
Anyway, concerning the books. I've read them all! I would recommend them to anyone who's interested in learning more about the preceptions concerning Church today and us Christians today.
Go get yourself a copy at the library or Barnes and Noble! You won't be disappointed.

Holly said...

I really like the comment about questioning yourself on if you know of God's ways or have a relationship with Him. I think its another great reminder of where we stand as far as our friendship goes with Him. I know I have to keep reminding myself to "stay in touch" with Him because life takes those opportunities and I unfortunatly let them at times. Thanks again for such a great blog! Love you!