Re(learning) the story

In his monumental work “After Virtue,” Alasdair MacIntyre wrote; I can only answer the question “What am I to do?” if I can answer the prior question “Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?[1] As followers of Jesus we situate ourselves within the beautiful story of Father, Son and Spirit making and remaking the world. Spiritual formation takes place when we inhabit the story of God, expressed in the life of Jesus. Empowered by the Holy Spirit we are changed inwardly making the world a better place to the glory of God. In the letter to the Ephesians the apostle Paul wrote, “But that is not the way you learned Christ!”(4:20) This verse makes me wonder, how do we learn Christ? MacIntyre’s emphases on story gives me a clue because learning Christ has much more to do with inhabiting a specific kind of story than just reciting some prepositions.  MORE THAN BLANKS A few weeks ago an old school friend posted a Sunday school test on his Facebook page. One of the sections asks questions with a fill in the blank space. The question was: They arrested Jesus, cuffed him and led him to _________ he was the father in law of _____________. My friend answered that he was led to Pilate and that he was the father in law of “Julea Ceaser.”Julia Child, anyone? In my book Raw Spirituality I reflected on the tendency to reduce learning Christ to prepositions, “Some versions of spiritual formation are built on the myth that all we need is the right answers, and that the answers have to... read more

Why I wrote Raw Spirituality

During a 2012 visit with my friends from Renovaré Brazil in Rio de Janeiro I presented a workshop on the rhythms that we developed in South Africa. Some folks from the Apprentice Institute attended and Jim Smith asked me whether I ever considered writing a book about our experiences. Tentatively I shared a rough draft with him. Jim was really encouraging and goaded me to continue writing. I will never forget one of his encouragements, Remember, if you write a book … ministry takes place even while you are sleeping.” Jim introduced me to the fine folks of Intervarsity Press and backed the book with the Apprentice Institute’s imprint. My friends at Renovaré USA also encouraged me to write. Now, two years later the book has morphed into “Raw Spirituality: The Rhythms of the Jesus Life.” My prayer is that it will become a way for people to have good conversations and learn from each other how to follow Jesus in this era. I hope we will have conversations with each other, with God and between followers of Jesus in different countries. During the following few months we will use this site as a place where we can have this conversation. If you would like to be part of this conversation please sign up for the newsletter here.   Share... read more

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