Listenings: Where It All Begins

Spiritual formation is the result of two foundational dynamics.  The first is that God exists and desires to have a relationship with us.  The second is that we are made to receive and respond to that desire.  From those twin convictions emerges the revelation/response rhythm which generates the spiritual journey. 

Eugeue Peterson has rightly emphasized that everything begins with God, and he has rightly pointed out that too much spirituality in North American Christianity emphasizes us.  This anthropocentric spirituality quickly deterioriates into “religious self-help” and while there may be good things which happen, it misses the mark of what true Christian formation is intended to be.

We begin “Listenings” with an unhurried look at God–what someone has called “a long, loving look at the Real.”  The Bible does not argue the existence of God, it affirms it.  It does not debate God’s existence, it declares it.  I am taking the same approach at the Oboedire site.  As Evelyn Underhill said, “God is the interesting thing.”  So, we will spend a relaxed amount of time catching a vision of God.  Then, we will move on to look at the second foundational pillar–our being made so that we can respond to the God who has made us. 

When Genesis says, “In the beginning, God….” it is not only making a statement about the start of creation; it is making a theological statement about where it all begins.  And, it is not with us.  It’s with God.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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