Pressing On: the Spiritual Maturity Project blog

A Common Problem for Christians: the Noonday Demon

One of the big goals of the Spiritual Maturity Project is to introduce people to resources that they might not otherwise find.  Of course, resources seem endlessly abundant, so why do people need help finding anything?  We're trying to help you get to the good stuff.  Quicker.  Deeper.  More long-lasting and spiritually enriching resources.  

Most of the time, once we get a basic idea down, that satisfies our curiosity and we move on to the next thing.  But for really good spiritual growth to take place over time, we need to go deeper sometimes and we need to stay longer when we go deeper.  Take this example: many people are curious to know the basic differences between Catholics and Protestants.  Just exactly what is it that distinguishes us from one another?  One very common answer goes back into the mists of the history of the Protestant Reformation.  You might recognize the Latin phrase sola fide (faith alone) as...

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Overcoming Gaps in Christian Experience

The Spiritual Maturity Project aims at overcoming two gaps in the experience of many Christians.  These gaps stunt growth and steal joy because they blind us to God's actions.  

The first gap lies between Christian scholarship and so-called practical books, books on "Christian living." Scholarly writings in the Christian tradition are generally thought of as "theoretical," as virtually the opposite of practical, written in abstract, highly technical language that normal Christians can't understand, anyway, so why bother? Most Christians interested in growing spiritually therefore turn to books written at a popular level, found in the "Christian living" category. 

In spite of any number of good, edifying books written in non-technical language, the popular Christian book market is flooded with stuff that stays on the surface.  Sometimes such books become bestsellers and being a bestseller is the signal that they are meeting a need and helping...

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Spiritual Maturity: Practicing Scriptural Reflection

Spiritual maturity might be one of those terms that sounds so familiar to Christian ears that all or most of us think we know exactly what it means. If we're not careful - and if we don't pay sufficient attention to scripture's descriptions - we fall back on patchwork images we pick up from here and there and we wind up not really knowing what spiritual maturity is. This loss has practical impact.

Not long ago I asked a group of college students which adults, in their congregations, demonstrate spiritual maturity in Christlike character. Who would they go to for spiritual guidance? None of them could name an adult that modeled Christ to them. 

There could be several mitigating reasons for this worrisome response. Sadly, it isn't an isolated circumstance. I can put their response with numerous others that leave me feeling uneasy about the state of many congregations. We need ordinary,local, present examples of spiritual maturity, of Christlike character. I know they exist....

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Introducing the Spiritual Maturity Project

Across nearly forty years of ministry, I’ve encountered people of all ages as well as clergy and laity, who speak of desire for more of the Christian life than they’re currently experiencing.  “Church life” has become tepid, timid, hypocritical, twisted this way and that by various cultural forces.  However we describe it, we know that it doesn’t match what we see in scripture and hunger for in our hearts.  We need a fresh touch from God.

 

We have formed the Spiritual Maturity Project in response to Christ’s call and to do all we can to address this deep need.  To aim at this goal, we have to recognize our hunger and be willing to do some work, which includes recognizing the damaging impact of half-truths about God’s grace.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer called it cheap grace.  John Wesley called it quietism.  It’s the notion that Jesus paid it all (he did), therefore we need do nothing. ...

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