Post Reply
Page 1 of 3  •  1 2 3 Next
Switch to Forum Live View Should we judge where we are on the Christian journey?
2 years ago  ::  May 19, 2012 - 1:31PM #1
stardustpilgrim
Posts: 5,278

I always have a title before I start a thread, but I don't here. It's simultaneously a defense of how I see what it means to mature in Christ and why others don't see this necessity, or how to go about it. It's mostly going to consist of some quotes by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, former Exarch of the Russian Orthodox in Western Europe, who died in 2003. I had earlier read two other books of his, but started Meditations On a Theme (1971) a few days ago.

From an early age, say 12-14, I was driven to come to a better understanding of the Bible and Christianity, and that in relation to why other Christians didn't seem to have the same drive and also why there was a discrepancy between what one believed and what one lived. I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church, was taken to church at least three times a week until I was about nine (recalling it was a special treat not to have to go to church on a Sunday night, as I was allowed about once a month to stay home to play with my cousins). I was the shyest kid in the world, virtually didn't speak unless I was forced to by circumstances, school, etc. So it's for this reason alone that I consider it very real that I walked the isle of the church at the age of nine to profess my faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. I was baptised that night, but the next Sunday we were supposed to go before the church again after the service to be welcomed into the church (by having the members of the whole church shake your hand). I didn't, they tried to literally drag me up there, but I wouldn't go. (That's all just background).

As further preface, let's say that being born again is but the beginning of the Christian journey, a journey that, acknowledged, by definition, can't begin unless one is born again, otherwise know as having the conversion experience, or confirmation (or by any other name one recognizes the experience). And merely as a reference point, let's call conversion 1% of the journey. I have come to understand that through the conversion experience one's spirit is united with and indwelt by God's Spirit, made alive and whole. Man can only receive this as a gift, as the sacrifice of the death of Jesus on the cross. After conversion can begin the transformation of one's soul into the likeness of Christ, soul, OKA self, one's mind, will and emotions. This is known as sanctification in the Western Church, in the Eastern Orthodox Church known as deification or theosis. In the quotes below Metropolitan Anthony is talking about deification. Unlike the conversion experience where our spirit is made whole and united to God's Spirit by nothing we can do, sanctification requires our participation. Sanctification is a continuing process whereby we yield self to God's influence, even dying to self. This is what Jesus meant when he said that to save our self we must lose our self (Mark 8:35-38 in post #2). In Ephesians 4:22-24 Paul called it laying aside our old self and putting on the new self. The question is what is our identity? What do we say "I" to? Even after the conversion experience we can remain self-centered, as God's Spirit only necessarily indwells our spirit, not our mind, will (actions) and emotions. For me, it took a journey to the East, about seven years, to Taoism and Buddhism beginning at the age of seventeen, to eventually come back to the church and learn about sanctification through the saints and mystics of the church. quoting Bloom   

"Contrary to what many think or feel a period of spiritual endeavour is a time of joy....a time when we shake off all that is worn and dead in us in order to be able to....live with all the vastness, depth and intensity to which we are called. ....This notion of joy coupled with strenuous effort, with ascetical endeavour, with struggle indeed, may seem strange, and yet it runs through the whole of our spiritual life, the life of the Church and the life of the Gospel, because the Kingdom of God is to be conquered. It is not something which is simply given to those who  leisurely, lazily wait for it to come. For those who would wait for it in that spirit, it will come indeed: it will come at the dead of night....like the thief who takes us unawares, like the bridegroom who comes when the foolish virgins are asleep. This is not the way in which we should await the Kingdom and the Judgement.

.........we must judge ourselves in order to change. .......... There is another joy in judgement. It is not something which descends upon us from the outside. The day will come when we shall stand before God and be judged, but as long as our pilgrimage continues, as long as we live in the process of becoming, as long as there is ahead of us this road that leads to full measure of the stature of Christ which is our vocation, judgement must be pronounced by ourselves.

Father John of Kronstadt says that God does not reveal to us the ugliness of our souls unless he can espy in us sufficient faith and sufficient hope for us not to be broken by the vision of our own sins. ......And so the first step is to get to know ourselves. Sin is dividedness, both within ourselves and with regard to others.... Sartre has said 'Hell is other people'. ....in the end the same French writer could say'Hell is ourselves'.

St Vincent de Paul (said): 'O God, I am too ugly for human beings, perhaps you have a use for me?' ........... the guardian angel of Hermas said to him: 'Be of good cheer, Hermas God will not abandon you before He breaks either your heart or your bones!' ..........We must be ready to pay the cost of discipleship. There is always a cost to discipleship because, from start to finish, it means a gradual overcoming of all that is self in order to grow into communion with that which is greater than self and which will ultimately displace self, conquer the ground and become the totality of life". (unquote) Meditations on a Theme, A spiritual journey, by Archbishop Anthony Bloom, 1971, 2003, continuum, pages 1-15

hummm......the title??? ......... Yep, I think that's it............

stardustpilgrim                       

The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.
The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton

A map is not the territory.                                                                 Alfred Korzybski

God is that function in the world by reason of which our purposes are directed to ends which in our own consciousness are impartial as to our own interests. He is that element in life in virtue of which judgment stretches beyond facts of existence to values of existence.      Alfred North Whitehead
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 19, 2012 - 2:06PM #2
Rgurley4
Posts: 8,603

Should we judge where we are on the Christian journey?


aka


Should (believers) be judged by the indwelling God the Holy Spirit....where we are / while we are....on the Christian journey ? (of Christ-following)



1. ...conversion (being born again spiritually from above)
(is the first) 1% (gateway) of the journey (of Christ-following)...


Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith
—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.


2. ...we (believers) must "judge" ourselves (our spiritual WORKS = "fruits") in order to "change"...
TEST: Are we in the will of the TRI-UNE GOD??


Matthew 12:33...Jesus:
 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad;
for the tree is known by its fruit.


Luke 6:44
For each tree is known by its own fruit.
For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.


Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect.


FINALLY:  there will be a Judgment of Believer's Works after salvation!
SEE:
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (NIV)...Judgment of the BELIEVER'S WORKS
2 Corinthians 5:10
For we (believers) must all appear before the (spiritual) Judgment Seat (bema) of Christ,
so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the BODY, (SOUL/SPIRIT)
according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (after salvation!)



3. ...We (believers) must be ready to pay the cost of discipleship...


Mark 8: 34-38 (NIV)...Jesus' demands on His followers...my comments added
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: 
"If anyone would come after me, he must
>>>1. deny himself, (put God -spouse - children - family - friends - enemies BEFORE love of SELF) and
>>>2. take up his cross, (sacrifice of self - DOER of the WORD)
>>>3. and follow me. (keep / OBEY Jesus' precepts / examples)
35  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for ME and for the GOSPEL will save it.
36  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? (Body-Soul-Spirit)
37  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Body-Soul-Spirit)
38  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation,
     the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."(Second Coming)


John 15: Jesus: Show your love by OBEYING


 

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 19, 2012 - 2:33PM #3
stardustpilgrim
Posts: 5,278

Thanks Rgurley.


sdp

The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.
The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton

A map is not the territory.                                                                 Alfred Korzybski

God is that function in the world by reason of which our purposes are directed to ends which in our own consciousness are impartial as to our own interests. He is that element in life in virtue of which judgment stretches beyond facts of existence to values of existence.      Alfred North Whitehead
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 19, 2012 - 8:21PM #4
Iwantamotto
Posts: 8,075

Damn, I knew I left my Jesus' Roadmap to God lying around somewhere, LOL....


Seriously, though, I respect sdp's journey.  I admire anyone who gets that people are supposed to grow up within Christianity.  Even if we arrive at different ideas sometimes, the important thing is that we didn't just take the dip in the pool and then sit around on the couch theologically and spiritually.  :)


Rgurley4:  Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.


I mean this half-seriously, but Christianity teaches us that it is Jesus' "work" (crucifixion) that saved us, not just His beliefs.  And CHristianity boasts of Jesus' accomplishments to "prove" His divinity.  A lot.


Matthew 12:33...Jesus:  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.


See, that's where the trouble started.


FINALLY:  there will be a Judgment of Believer's Works after salvation!


Why, what with it being irrelevant, right?


35  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it


I wonder if Pete and Paul got that memo.  Of course, they're only mimicking the Savior, who also had a lot of run-ins He ran from.


38  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation,      the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."(Second Coming)


Well, adults should be able to provide assessments.  Only immature people can't handle being told to rethink something that just isn't accurate or working.  If Jesus is going to be that petty, I don't mind marching up to Heaven to challenge such a spiritual weakling.

Knock and the door shall open.  It's not my fault if you don't like the decor.
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 20, 2012 - 7:37AM #5
Dostojevsky
Posts: 7,214

Stardust, nice post.


'Father John of Kronstadt says that God does not reveal to us the ugliness of our souls..'


I think New Agers call this the dark night of the soul. Yes sometimes you see yourself --how could I have said something like that??


I have a Greek friend who just before Easter came to me and basically said that if she had said anything or hurt my feelings to forgive her; it was in preparation for Easter when they do repentnce/sanctification, the word you used.


You mentioned couple of names incl. Hermes. I inherited couple of his books but really don't know anything about him. Was he Egyptian?


'The kingdom of God is to be conquered' does not sit easy with me. Makes me think of marching in  with guns blazing...;) I think it says somewhere we have to be conquerers, but I see this as overcoming many things within ourselves etc etc etc


 


 

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 20, 2012 - 8:24AM #6
stardustpilgrim
Posts: 5,278

May 20, 2012 -- 7:37AM, Dostojevsky wrote:


Stardust, nice post.


'Father John of Kronstadt says that God does not reveal to us the ugliness of our souls..'


I think New Agers call this the dark night of the soul. Yes sometimes you see yourself --how  could I have said something like that??


I have a Greek friend who just before Easter came to me and basically said that if she had said  anything or hurt my feelings to forgive her; it was in preparation for Easter when they do repentnce/sanctification, the word you used.


You mentioned couple of names incl. Hermes. I inherited couple of his books but really don't know anything about him. Was he Egyptian?


'The kingdom of God is to be conquered' does not sit easy with me. Makes me think of marching in  with guns blazing...;) I think it says somewhere we have to be conquerers, but I see this as overcoming many things within ourselves etc etc etc


 


 




I was just going out, so I'll get back to you, but the name mentioned was Hermas, not Hermes, two different people. .....and one place about conquerers (overcomers) is in Revelation.....


Thanks..........


sdp

The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.
The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton

A map is not the territory.                                                                 Alfred Korzybski

God is that function in the world by reason of which our purposes are directed to ends which in our own consciousness are impartial as to our own interests. He is that element in life in virtue of which judgment stretches beyond facts of existence to values of existence.      Alfred North Whitehead
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 20, 2012 - 10:35AM #7
Adelphe
Posts: 28,705

It's 2012, sdp.  Is it time for our once annual "let's get nowhere in this discussion" argument?


Laughing

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 20, 2012 - 1:51PM #8
stardustpilgrim
Posts: 5,278

May 20, 2012 -- 10:35AM, Adelphe wrote:


It's 2012, sdp.  Is it time for our once annual "let's get nowhere in this discussion" argument?


Laughing




Sure .........but know that I have lots of scripture on my side......Wink


sdp

The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.
The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton

A map is not the territory.                                                                 Alfred Korzybski

God is that function in the world by reason of which our purposes are directed to ends which in our own consciousness are impartial as to our own interests. He is that element in life in virtue of which judgment stretches beyond facts of existence to values of existence.      Alfred North Whitehead
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 21, 2012 - 8:25AM #9
Adelphe
Posts: 28,705

May 20, 2012 -- 1:51PM, stardustpilgrim wrote:


May 20, 2012 -- 10:35AM, Adelphe wrote:


It's 2012, sdp.  Is it time for our once annual "let's get nowhere in this discussion" argument?


Laughing




Sure .........but know that I have lots of scripture on my side......Wink


sdp




The Scripture isn't (it's never) the problem, it's your interpretation of it; more, your additions to it.


It's also, btw, this--your now 5th annual straw man:


May 19, 2012 -- 1:31PM, stardustpilgrim wrote:

...and why others don't see this necessity, or how to go about it.



Okay, sdp, we get that you don't think you were pastored and/or discipled appropriately (or at all) in a church you once attended.


Forgive and move on already, for Christ's sake (literally.)


There's not a single Christian on earth who doesn't think they need to mature in Christ and understand how to go about it--UNLESS that "Christian" has rejected every last bit of the New Testament, the Church, and God (Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) Himself


Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 21, 2012 - 8:34AM #10
Sacrificialgoddess
Posts: 9,496

Simply by reading scripture, you (generic) interpret scripture. Who is to say who is right? That's why I find the doctrine of "there is no one right way," helpful. Saves on a lot of arguments.

Dark Energy. It can be found in the observable Universe. Found in ratios of 75% more than any other substance. Dark Energy. It can be found in religious extremists, in cheerleaders. To come to the conclusion that Dark signifies mean and malevolent would define 75% of the Universe as an evil force. Alternatively, to think that some cheerleaders don't have razors in their snatch is to be foolishly unarmed.

-- Tori Amos
Quick Reply
Cancel
Page 1 of 3  •  1 2 3 Next
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook