Dynamics of Christian Spirituality - Lesson 4

Experiencing Community

The first dynamic of Christian spirituality is relational. It involves friendship with God and the experience of community.

Glen Scorgie
Dynamics of Christian Spirituality
Lesson 4
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Experiencing Community

Experiencing Community

A. Review and Introduction

B. Openness to the other: A new inclination of the soul

1. Correcting the centrifugal tendency of sin

2. Daring to venture out of our shells

3. The hollow victory called easy-believism

C. The Spirit and the welcoming self

1. The decisive choice: Exclusion or embrace

2. Forgiveness: The blessed grace to start over

D. We grow through relationships with others

E. The Church as prototype: The mission of the Church to model restored relationships (John 13:34-35)

F. Our relationship to the rest of creation

G. Some helpful guides: Benedict (480-550), Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Miroslav Volf

H. Summary: The first dynamic of Christian spirituality is relational. It involves friendship with God and the experience of community. In this lecture we considered our horizontal relationships with others and creation. The self-giving love of God contagiously infects all those who draw close to him. They begin a regenerated journey beyond self-absorption to welcoming of others. They joyfully participate in the expanding web of relationships that grace makes possible. This divine uniting impulse, which the church is called to model, should also lead to a harmonious relationship with creation.

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  • The modern way of life has left the human spirit unsatisfied. Though organized religion has been found deficient, real Spirit-uality remains God’s gracious provision for the soul-hunger of every age. We have introduced a framework for understanding such spirituality – one that highlights its three essential dynamics.

  • It is within the narrative of scripture that we continue to live and move. We are interested in the quality of spirituality that characterized the countless saints who have pursued God down through the centuries. Their legacy is not infallible, but it is instructive and potentially very helpful.

  • We were created for community, but our sin has produced alienation. By his Spirit, Christ is restoring our intimacy with God and others.

  • The first dynamic of Christian spirituality is relational— friendship with God and the experience of community.

  • We have become image-bearers who sin, and worse than that, we carry about in us a disposition to sin. The gospel is the good news that our sinful thoughts and actions can be forgiven through the atoning work of Christ. God’s Spirit, who now resides in us, is also fixing the polluted source of ours sins.

  • God’s saving plan is to change us into persons who are both holy and whole.

  • The Christian life involves connecting, becoming and doing. We discover meaning in life by aligning ourselves with God’s call to steward creation, evangelize the nations, and build his kingdom.

  • The ability to discern our personal vocation in life is important. What we do with our lives is an essential element of true spirituality.

  • Each of us should seek to live a Christ-centered, Spirit-filled life characterized all three dynamics of Christian spirituality: relational, transformational and vocational. We should conscientiously incorporate all three into our prayer lives as well.

  • Grace is not opposed to effort, but to earning (Dallas Willard). We are as spiritual as we want to be (A. W. Tozer).

  • The journey of our pursuit of God that we are on has joyful experiences as well as challenges in store. Pursue God, value relationships and live life with an attitude of expectancy and joy.

If you are familiar with the author's A Little Guide to Christian Spirituality: Three Dimensions of Life with God, you will have a good idea of what is in this course.

The course is designed for those who are at the beginning stages of the spiritual journey. It talks about the dynamics of spiritual growth, how to grow to be more like Christ. (10:50)


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