Pressing On: the Spiritual Maturity Project blog

To Grow Spiritually, Grow Intellectually

Growing spiritually calls for growing intellectually.  In our pragmatic American culture, we don't sufficiently see this connection.  I'm on my own mission to convince the willing to seek healing for this blindness. To grow spiritually always involves growing in understanding.  To grow in understanding is exactly what growing intellectually means.  

What gets in our way?

For one thing, growing intellectually seems like it demands lots of leisure time, which most of us think we don't have.  But don't we?  Is lack of time really a problem?  How much discretionary time do you have daily?  Even if you are extremely busy, could you find an hour a day to read, think, and pray?  Do a time audit.  How much time do you spend on social media?  In front of the TV?  (I have the same struggle.)

For another, time constraints aside, many people simply don't connect the intellect to spiritual growth.  It is enough to feel some...

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Epistemic Healing: (A Bit of) My Own Story

I clearly remember the day one of my seminary professors told a group of us students chatting with him, "Our job is to tear down your Sunday School faith so that you can build up a more adequate faith."  It sounds harsh, but he meant it quite sincerely and with strong regard for students. Individually, professors were almost uniformly supportive, while holding us to a high performance standard.  Nonetheless, the institutional culture exhibited an intellectual violence for which the language of tearing down is quite appropriate.  I began to think of the seminary experience that many mainline Protestant pastors-to-be had as like clipping the wings of a bird and then demanding that it fly. 

To my never-ending surprise, the time since seminary has grown exceedingly long, yet I have continued to think about the experience, with very mixed feelings.  I appreciated (and still do) the exposure to a number of thought systems that I would not have encountered in the...

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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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