Lecture 4: Experiencing Community
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The first dynamic of Christian spirituality is relational. It involves friendship with God and the experience of 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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