“…Here’s what I want you to do… Get out there and walk -– better yet, run! –- on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want you strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark, that you do this with humility and discipline — until we are all moving rhythmically and easily with each other — efficient and graceful in response to God’s son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
No prolonged infancies among us, please. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ – who’s very breath and life flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.”
PAUL – The Message
How good is your Memory? Last time I wrote in “Inside CAI”, I was arguing that that the church as a whole does not deal with doubt or confusion very well. And, I believe that this is a necessary process in our lives if we are going to grow up – be able to experience the raw-ness of life, and truly enjoy the freedom, I believe Christ died to provide, – by being fully mature and fully alive.
At that time, I argued that we are masterfully designed to grow, and there is never a lack of development needed in our lives. However, we somehow seek a status that will not foster such growth. So, even though we move through various developmental phases, we seem to return to the “proven and comfortable” where we have a sense of control, rather than face and walk into an unpredictable future where only God stands, and where He bids us come.
COMMON DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES
I. CHAOS – is characterized by Autonomy – Independence.
PRODUCT: A sense of being “self-sufficient.
II. ‘STABLE’ – is characterized by External – Institutional.
PRODUCT: A sense of being “in Control”.
III. PUZZLEMENT – is characterized by Questions/Confusion Doubt.
PRODUCT: A sense that somehow “There is More”.
IV. CONNECTION – is characterized by community exposure.
PRODUCT: Experience of true freedom and joy.
These are certainly not linear, yet the first three stages are a necessary launching pad for the forth stage. Two ideas are necessary here:
1.) The fourth stage is where “whole” life truly takes place and where, I believe, we are designed to live.
2.) We are often deceived into thinking that the first three stages are all that life really offers. Let me explain…
Real community or “connection”, (stage 4) depends on maturity for its existence. Last night at church I heard a sermon on “change”. It was seen as an optimist might see, yet I believe “change” or transformation is a move, usually ‘away’ from something: i.e. We ‘change’ to remove some form of discomfort (it matters not what) – and we use the first three stages of development as our sole options-/resources, to grapple with said irritant (discomfort). By switching back and forth in our stance in order to defend or self-sooth, all three stages are necessary in/for our development. Yet, in order to grow, one must face his/her shame, through exposure, in order for true ‘community’ to work…so that can true growth can take place. Unfortunately, few in a population get to this stage.
The place where post moderns begin –
easy to get stuck here – by never asking a/the ‘truth’ question –
therefore, no tether to work toward or from –
no need to face being finite –
Life forms an open bottom box: Put something in – return later –there’s nothing there… I’m… lost/loose. There’s no possible growth here.
“TRUE” Community demands that a person can be exposed! This forces us to push away from a learned ‘default’ behavior/option of switching back and forth through self-protective choices…all of which bring short term relief, yet prevent the access to true transformation. This exposure, I believe, is what we are designed for, and of which our deepest longings nudge us toward. (read: “Eternity in Their Hearts” – Eccle. 3:11).
The Rareness of experiencing “True Community”, prompts questions:
l) Are we blinded so as not to move toward this?
2) Are we somehow programmed to capitulate (default) to the lowest
3) Is joy so elusive that the arduous-ness of the task defeats us
before we even begin? (so that we turn back).
4) Is our fear of true freedom so strong that facing it becomes
5) Does exposure feel so ‘out of control’ that its demands stop the
process of growth?
6) Are we, as natural risk takers, (church planters are high in this :o),
still so drawn to the illusion of control, that we move toward
reflected light rather than the SON?
DO YOU WANT TO WALK IN LIFE “FULLY MATURE – FULLY ALIVE”?
Paul says we will only do this through humility and discipline. “My assumption is that you learned Christ, that you paid careful attention, and have been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus…so, we do not have the excuse of ignorance…”
Here’s to Growing!
By His Grace, Hud