Saturday, October 13, 2018

Understanding our spiritual center

One important truth I have revealed in my series on the human heart from a Biblical perspective, is that it's our spiritual center. Spirituality isn't always the easiest thing to define, even with those of the same faith, since various people view it very differently. Yet, there may be a good reason for that, as I have recently discovered through the spirituality wheel.

The spirituality wheel breaks down Christian spiritually into four main types. Which is something we might not have not considered before, because we've assumed that spirituality is a one size fits all experience. Which would explain why there is so much conflict in the church over worship. We are assuming what arouses our spirit is somehow universal, so we feel there’s nothing wrong with imposing our tendencies on everyone, and opposing all else.

I say this because with every spiritual type there is also a danger, a weakness if you will. I have witnessed every single one of these dangers played out in churches that I have been a part of. Unapologetically I might add, which never produces fruitful results. So I believe it of incredible value to take this to heart so that we can set aside the emotions that cause us to follow “self." Then start to value others above ourselves as Jesus wanted us to. We can do this by seeking to understand one another's differences of heart, instead of just criticize those who are spiritually different from us.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, -Philippians 2:3

Type 1 ● Head Spirituality
This is an intellectual thinking spirituality that favors concrete rules, and the easily defined. People attracted to this form of spirituality tend to be rational and logical, valuing precision in their behavior. A real world example would be John Calvin.

Their Spiritual danger is rationalism. Expressing one's spiritual life through legalism, with a consequent loss of inner conviction, yet very condemning of others. Sometimes seen as cold and indifferent.

Type 2 ● Heart Spirituality
For the heart spiritual, God is experienced more through the heart than the head. Since God is love, their belief is that he must be known through love, not simply known through ideas. The result is a more charismatic spirituality with the aim to achieve holiness. A real world example would be John Wesley.

Their Spiritual danger is excessive emotionalism, the belief that emotion is the test of the validity of a person's spiritual experience. Often confusing emotion for the spirit. Can lead to an "us against the world" mentality that fails to recognize the spiritual experience of those in other religious traditions.

Type 3 ● Mystical Spirituality
Emphasizes the mystery of God and sees God as too big to fully comprehend fully in our small mortal state. Not that it necessarily stops them from seeking as much understanding as possible. People attracted to this type of spirituality are often contemplative and intuitive. They emphasize the process of spirituality, seeing it as a journey. A real world example would be Thomas Merton.

Their Spiritual danger is being reclusive. They often distance themselves from one size fits all cultures and institutions that try to put God in a box. Resulting in retreat from church community, and from interaction with the world. Often seen as passive.

Type 4 ● Social Justice Spirituality
Such people are active visionaries who are single-minded with a deeply focused, almost crusading, type of spirituality. Their Goal is simply to obey God by living with mission. In so doing, transform society by contributing to the establishment of God’s Kingdom. A real world example would be St. Francis of Assisi.

Their spiritual danger lies in a moralistic and unrelenting tunnel-vision that excludes or judges others who do not share their passion for putting faith into action.

I have said it repeatedly, but I must keep saying it until the Biblical model of church is truly achieved. The body of Christ, which is the church, is meant to be diverse. Every part having unique talents, skills, and gifts. With that comes unique needs, and weaknesses as well. Which apparently extends to how we engage spirituality as well. If we do not honor and recognize that, we produce only conflict and create alienation of those who are made differently. Which is not beneficial for the unity of the kingdom of God at all. In the end, we need the "head" types to keep us on the straight and narrow. The "heart" types to remind us that the straight and narrow is meant be an act of love for God, not just an obligation. The "social justice" types to remind us that what we do, and don't do unto others, we do unto God as well. And the "mystic" types to remind us that all types are needed to create a strong and vital church that truly acknowledges the grandness of God to the best of our ability. This can't happen though if we look at the world through our emotions and judge everything through the standard of self.

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to an other, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God -Romans 7:4

If I’ve peaked your curiosity at all, the link below will lead you to a quiz to identify your spiritual type with more detailed descriptions.

The Spirituality Wheel PDF


a person seeing everything in a distorted way by looking at it though a filter of self.
click to enlarge

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Broken-hearted?


The phrase broken-hearted appears in the Bible four times. If we read these verses with the common understanding of the word heart, we will likely assume it is merely referring to emotional wounds or lost love. Yet, if we read it with the proper Biblical understanding of the word, we will realize it goes far deeper than that. With the heart being more about personality, and our spiritual center, we can see our very self is broken when our heart is.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. -Psalm 34:18
Here, we see a direct correlation between heart and spirit. Do we have the same compassion for the broken as the Lord does though?

For he never thought of doing a kindness, but hounded to death the poor and the needy and the brokenhearted. -Psalm 109:16
Here, David is talking about the wicked, and how they tend to victimize the broken-hearted, instead of show compassion. What will happen to the broken-hearted if believers don't intervene?

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. -Psalm 147:3
What the Lord wants to do with the broken-hearted, not enable or indulge their brokenness, but heal it.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, -Isaiah 61:1
A prophecy about the Messiah, and his mission, and how the broken-hearted fit into that. Which reveals something what it means to be truly Christ like.

Do you have a better perspective on what it means to be broken-hearted and its potential ramifications on the spirit? That if one is broken they may be unable to conceptualize the way, and the importance of the spirit; especially if they have been routinely used by the world. Why it's important to address the brokenness in the heart first, instead of start with obedience that takes a strong spirit to achieve. However, a better question would be, what are you going to do about that?

The Visual PARABLEist

A person standing on a broken heart and the cracks are running into his body.
click to enlarge