Thursday, November 11, 2010


Whoooooaaaa.... we're halfway there                              
livin on a prayer!

Not only great in the Rockband experience between readings and assignments, but no greater singing prophet of the 80s than bon jovi could've given us this gem of truth. Halfway through the semester and we're looking to be in good shape. We're still hunting for and of course praying for balance in the force of our lives: schoolwork, workwork, playtime and praytime.

To focus on the schoolwork, this week we highlight Spiritual Formation with Martha Giltinan. A quick aside concerning Martha (as it is inevitable): We were warned about her more than any other professor as someone who is difficult to follow and “a little over-the-top”. She's a Drama Queen Empress and “little over-the-top” is far too insufficient, however, she has offered some of the richest in-class experiences we've had in some time and she approaches the material from such a sense of pastoral conviction that this class is one of the highlights of the week. She doesn't strike me as one who would offer benefits for brown-nosing, so I'm very comfortable lauding her... I'm also comfortable going on record as saying that when I first heard her launch into soliloquy I thought she sounded like a cross between Bullwinkle J Moose and Billy Sunday (what higher praise is there for a first impression?)

Spiritual Formation classes I've (Greg) had in the past have been very basic, “let's read some Dallas Willard” and learn about spiritual disciplines and talk about all those things we want to do for our growth in the Lord but certainly don't have time to do. Good stuff, but always the same stuff. I don't believe we've cracked open any Dallas Willard yet, but the disciplines and the quest for virtue hasn't changed all that much... now we're just reading everyone who likely influenced the Willard. This is great news! We don't have to try and be inventive or creative about fasting, lectio divina, Sabbath rest, the practice of the presence of God, etc because learning how to grow in Christ-likeness and abiding with God through the continual and active presence of the Spirit isn't new either... the people of God have been getting it wrong (and getting it right) for centuries!!! Blessed be the Name!

So, from this class we've learned to envelop ourselves in the great cloud of witnesses that we might learn a lesson or two and go and do likewise, trusting that God will draw us close and conform us to the image of his Son as we walk on that way of becoming like Jesus (status viatoris for the Pieper fans out there). We're going to forget to read our Bibles somedays and we're gonna forget about the blessing of fasting and just be cranky; but all glory to Him who loves us and calls us His own and nurtures us with His Spirit that sometimes we will get it right (whatever that means in this crazy world of spiritual formation) and we will mature and grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Since I opened with a hymn, I figure it's good to close with one as well: