Thursday, September 21, 2006

"We Shall Morph Indeed" Pt. 1

The back cover for John Ortberg's The Life You've Always Wanted:

The heart of Christianity is transformation--a relationship with God that impacts not just our "spiritual lives," but every aspect of living. John Ortberg calls readers back to the dynamic heartbeat of Christianity--God's power to bring change and growth--and reveals both the how and why of transformation

. . . It's a road map toward true transformation that starts not with the individual but with the object of the journey--Jesus Christ.

As with a marathon runner, the secret to winning the race lies not in trying harder, but in training consistently--training with the spiritual disciplines. The disciplines are neither taskmasters nor an end in themselves. Rather they are exercises that build strength and endurance for the road of growth. The fruit of the Spirit--joy, peace, kindness, etc.--are the signposts along the way.

For some "look ahead" at the book, I have posted the chapter titles at the index link at the bottom.

A word on this series (???): It will be a series if it turns into a study group/discussion. People can come and go; lurk or not - but for now a few things are obvious to me:
  • This is a book about spiritual transformation from the perspective of a follower of Christ. One thing I have seen at Street Prophets is that spiritual truths for different faith communities overlap and/or rely on similiar views with different language. This discussion is not limited to Christians - but it is being led from a Christian book by a Christian.

  • Like the prayer closet, this will be a safe place. If people choose to be open and vulnerable about their spiritual path, transformation, fears and struggles - they will not be slapped for it. Paul said
    Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
  • While the community may be safe, it isnt private - open and transparent is good but be discreet

  • This is a group discussion - if no one participates I will end it; and have mercy on all

  • As in the small group I am in, if these discussions kick off tangents we may step away from the book and pursue them, coming back later.
* * * * *
Chapter One is sub-titled "The Hope of Transformation", with these two quotes to kick it off
"Now with God's help, I will become myself" -- Soren Kierkegaard

"I could not quiet that pearly ache in my heart that I diagnosed as the cry of home" -- Pat Conroy

The first question in the study guide:
The author talks about the reality that we all live with disappointment. He talks about us having "a nagging sense that all is not as it should be". What is one disappointment you live with as you look back over your life?
I do not think about disappointment much - but I wish that I could have finished college with a degree that I could use in a career (or really vocation). I feel trapped in my current job for lack of other skills.

The second question:

Looking at Soren's quote above: In the moments that you get a glimpse and vision of what God wants you to be, what do you see?
This is related to the first question: a teaching ministry.

Next in series: "We Shall Morph Indeed" Pt. 2
Index to Series

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How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly