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June 17, 2003

Holistic Spirituality - TRUTH

Thanks for those of you who have expressed interest in the 'Holistic Spirituality' model that I mentioned earlier. Sorry to those logging on yesterday to get the next instalment - Its been a crazy few days!

As I wrote previously: "The model is pretty simple - and identifies four main ways that people tend to connect with God. We each tend to be strong in at least one area and often are week in one also. Alan's hypothesis is that to develop in one's spirituality they should be growing in each of the four dimensions.

The first of the quadrants of the model is TRUTH.
This way of connecting with God is predominantly through thinking. Here ideas are important and the brain is engaged. Theology is central as is putting words and language to faith. This is where we seek to understand more of who God is, who we are, what belief and faith is. Here Scripture is held onto, and is generally regarded highly and it is studied vigorously. The focus is largely �God� with the mind.

Some people will naturally be 'thinkers' and love to connect with God in this way. Their favourite part of church might be a good meaty sermon where the Word is expounded and the mind is challenged. People who are strong in this area might be drawn strongly to bible study groups that take an intellectual approach to their activities or to reading stretching books on faith or theology.

Jesus was someone who operated in this way throughout his ministry. We find him as a young boy in the Temple(Luke 2:46) expanding his mind (and the minds of those around him!), we see he has a good grasp of Scripture and that he uses it to resist temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13), he also quotes it throughout his ministry and in his teaching stretches the minds and theology of those listening to him. He also was keen to see his disciples grappling with his teachings - John 8:31-32, "if you hold onto my teaching you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

The early church also developed in this area - we see in the early chapters of Acts that the community was devoted to the teaching of the Apostles(Acts 4:13) and that Paul in his letters was keen to stretch his reader's thinking at times. He writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:7 � Think about what I�m saying. The Lord will give you understanding in these areas�

Hebrews 5:11 � 6:1 challenges us to move beyond the basics and to get onto the solids of faith. Too often I fear that we don't really grapple with this area of faith. God has given us the capacity to think but do we extend this gift to our faith?

Of the four areas that I'll be covering this week, Truth is probably my 'weakest link'. Whilst I am not interested in putting the guilt�s on anyone who struggles in this area, the point of this model is to encourage us all to do some thinking about where we are strong (and celebrate that) and where we are weak (and make decisions to improve in that area). Over the years I've had to force myself to grow in this area through enrolling in a Theology degree (its only taken me 9 years so far), reading some meaty books and throwing myself into conversations and debates I might otherwise have avoided. Every time I do I'm constantly amazed at the way my faith is deepened!

How do you go in this area? Is it a natural and energising part of your faith or do you also struggle with it? What have you discovered that might help the rest of us grow and extend ourselves as we seek to engage our minds? Do you use any exercises or resources that help in this area? Leave your comments below so that we all might benefit from your experience.

UPDATE: Here are the complete set of links to this series. 1. INTRO - 2. TRUTH - 3. WONDER - 4. ACTION - 5. LOVE - 6. Wrapping it all up.

Posted by Darren at June 17, 2003 04:45 PM | TrackBack
Comments

This is my strong area (not that I know what's coming) - but this one I enjoy and relate to. Perhaps its my conservative evangelical upbringing that valued the intellect over emotion...

Posted by: hamo at June 17, 2003 05:33 PM

I thought you might be strong in this area mate.....in fact I have some suspicions about some of the other bloggers too...maybe I should make a 'quiz' to help people find their strengths and growth areas on this and then compile a blog list on it.

You'll get the full model straight from the horses mouth at the next intensive Hamo! Hirschy tells it alot better than me!

Posted by: Darren at June 17, 2003 05:37 PM

This is me, definitely. I love reading and learning and have a passion for exegesis. Read commentaries for fun. I even used to dream and see pages of Greek the night before a Greek exam!

Actually I feel energised by being like this. Some say such study makes them dry. I find the opposite. When I get a new glimpse of what something means, or how a word applies in a passage I feel "WOW. That's just so great to learn something more about God."

If anything, studying theology has reinforced to me just how amazing God is. When I think I learn something, I realise how much i don't have any idea about.
Shalom,
Jan

Posted by: Jan at June 17, 2003 10:22 PM

I think this is my strong area as well. like jan, I enjoy learning about individual words and how specific they are to a passage.

Posted by: meg at June 18, 2003 09:33 AM
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