Posts tagged all-or-nothing
Episode 15: Patterns of Spiritual Development

Every faith journey is different, but are there discernible patterns that are common among us?
Law was good, but it could never transform
It was good, it taught you that we live in a moral universe, you weren’t designed to live under a baby-sitter for ever, meant to mature and live by the Spirit
It’s openness to God that transforms, Jesus is the path to openness in God, in his death, he demonstrated his absolute trust—his absolute openness—to God and to resurrection life in Jesus.

There often will come a point where you have to get off the paved path. Often times it’s suffering or some sort of inner conflict, or a product of the Christian culture that we're living in today.

“If you ask anybody, ‘What’s the activity that you had that made you who you are?’ no one says, ‘You know I had a really great vacation in Hawaii.’ No one says that. They say, ‘I had a period of struggle. I lost a loved one. I was in the Army. And that period of struggle or that period of toughness made me who I am.’”

This idea of the dark night, some period where your faith seems inadequate or your suffering makes you ask, “Where is God?” is one of the key characteristics in the pattern of spiritual development

Every journey is different, but are there discernible patterns to the spiritual journey?
This can help us normalize our journey! We are not alone.
“It hurts to become real”
-The Velveteen Rabbit

This development is actually normalized in Scripture
We are all being changed (2 Corinthians 3:18) What matters is becoming new creation

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Paul: law is a baby-sitter (Galatians 3:24)

Law was good, but it could never transform
It was good, it taught you that we live in a moral universe, you weren’t designed to live under a baby-sitter for ever, meant to mature and live by the Spirit
It’s openness to God that transforms, Jesus is the path to openness in God, in his death, he demonstrated his absolute trust—his absolute openness—to God and to resurrection life in God
Development in the nation of Israel
Jesus: Kingdom of Heaven: Mustard seed
NT Wright: every generation must wrestle with…
“We must stop giving 16th century answers…”

James Fowler Stage of Faith

M. Scott Peck
The Road Less Traveled
-Stage I Chaotic, Antisocial
Antisocial in that it’s all “me” (perhaps Hedonistic)

-Stage II Formal, Institutional, Fundamental
Boundaries good
Dark side: very either-or, all-or-nothing. Have difficulty explaining, or comforting when experiencing suffering.

-Stage III
Skeptic, Individual, Questioner
Life is more gray than previously acknowledged

-Stage IV
Mystic, Communal
Open to God

Notice, Every pattern or theory of development we’re going to talk about today ends in some sort of “union”

It's possible, or probable to be in more than one at once. Not linear.
We may be in both or all at different times.

Exercise: In the midst of a painful thought, relationship or memory, asking God: "How can you be so good?"

Episode 14: Experiencing Intimacy with God

Intimacy with God is the process of Salvation -- we connect to Him more deeply through the process of Salvation.  Salvation is more of a process than an "event" where our sins are forgiven.  
See Hosea, Song of Solomon, Eph 5 to see examples of intimacy with God.  He's created a world where we can find Him and going deeper with Him. 
Paul's epistles:  What God has done, who we are as a result (adopted, His children), therefore you live it out this way.  
This is a big difference from "works theology" something that we've been trained to live in fear of as Protestants.  

We contrast between two verses that people use to defend that "certificate" of salvation vs. walking out our salvation. 

Eph 1:4-5 (NLT)
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

James 1:26-27 (NLT)
If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

How does "participating" in salvation change how we live?
We talk about our anxieties about Works Theology, and how to engage in love for others in the way that Jesus prompts us in the gospels, and the way James 1 does.

Salvation is a relationship -- not something that we possess, but as a relationship that's transforming us. 

12 Steps of Recovery are a process of sanctification or "working through salvation"... our behaviors towards others and in our life change as we lean in and accept that God is our "higher power".

Bianary perspective on Salvation-- how do we see Salvation as All or Nothing Thinking?

Review All-or-Nothing Thinking & Trauma responses to fight-or-flight experiences that train our brain (amygdala) to respond quickly, or fearfully.  

More information on M. Scott Peck's Stages of Faith:

Depersonalization: when we're afraid, we turn our loved ones into "things" or thing-ify them as a threat, instead of someone who we love, or who has good and bad as part of their nature.

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable. 

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18 NIV

2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13 NIV

3. We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your  spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1 NIV

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40 NIV

5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16a NIV

6 We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10 NIV

7 We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NIV

8 We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 NIV

9 We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 NIV

10 We continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12

11 We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and power to carry that out.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Colossians 3:16a NIV

12 Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore them gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1 NIV

Episode 5: Anxiety & Peace, Part 1

Anxiety is our topic in these next two episodes.  This is part of series we've done on Trauma, Anger, Anxiety and Shame.  We start with a free association game on anxiety-- there's so many words that we use to describe it!  We describe our own anxiety that morning.  

Brandon tells a story of a panic attack that he experienced after a surgery. His experience taught him empathy and compassion for those who experience anxiety and panic, but also learned that for him, anxiety is something he needs to accept in the moment, without fighting it.  

Therapeutic perspective on anxiety: 
We talk road rage: a typical Southern California conversation. 
Different words for anxiety, stress, agitation, frustrated.  Physical symptoms of anxiety are endless. Tension in muscles, limbs, forearms, chest pressure, chest pain, heart races, headaches, stomach butterflies, stomach pain, intestinal problems, flushed face & neck, etc, etc.
Anxiety effects our thinking in different ways:  we catastrophize, overthinking, thoughts going around and around, all-or-nothing thinking. 
We discuss all-or-nothing thinking, or binary thinking, and how our culture is increasingly binary. 

Spiritual perspective on anxiety: 
Acknowledging that God is sovereign and all powerful when we are feeling powerless, isolated and lonely, or helpless.  Anxiety can push us to not settle, with a lack of peace. 
How to talk about techniques, prayer, engage with God, but not in a way where there's a "formula" or a "rain dance" to bring peace from God.  We want to sit in the tension of not being able to control God while we need Him to experience peace.  Living by the Spirit should be our goal, not trying to just "do what the bible says," but to live WITH God in relationship.  

How do we resist the shame we feel when we're anxious, that we're not good enough Christians, but instead, use our anxiety as an invitation to acknowledge our need for God?

Check out Rhett Smith's book, "The Anxious Christian."

The scriptural opposite of Anxiety is peace (Shalom).  Shalom: Nothing lacking, everything made whole.
How do we dwell in peace?

Two ways that we deal with anxiety:  Moralism (doing the right thing to earn our way out) and Hedonism (avoiding the emotion, and numbing our way out).  
Brandon explained The Parable of the Two Sons (or the Prodigal Son), and how neither hedonism and moralism will help us to understand the heart of God.   We discuss our own perspective on whether we lean towards hedonism or moralism.  Susette talks her own journey down her desire line, and her history of feeling like a "good" or "bad" Christian and the shame that comes with that. 
Brandon identifies imminence and transcendence, 

Bible passages mentioned: 

Phil 4:6-7
Matthew 6
Romans 8:6