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Trying to Build: Spirituality

December 12, 2008

People are more spiritual. You hear it all of the time. People are interested in the super natural. We have natural inroads.

I think you have to be careful. Are people looking for answers or are they trying to create something that works for them? There is a difference. It is great that people understand that a spiritual dimension exists, but if you simply take that and create your own in the end I’m not sure we have gotten anywhere.

In Acts 17 Paul does speak in the Areopagus and I do think we can learn a lot from what he says but I think there are limits to the example. What I mean is Paul notes an altar to the unknown god. They have allowed a door of possibility. They are saying that they don’t know everything and so a god may exist that they are unaware off but it is also important to note that Paul is very clear about who he is talking about. He tells them that what they call unknown is known.

800px-areopagus_from_the_acropolis1

Then he says something that is key, he says that God is in control and that they should seek God. He ends by saying God isn’t far from any of them quoting their poets. What some times gets missed is that Paul also warns in verse 30 that God has overlooked the times of ignorance but is now calling all to repentance.

So while he begins by connecting what they are doing with truth he doesn’t stay there or even continue down that road. He simply uses that as a springboard to a call for repentance. I have seen far too much compromise because of spirituality. I have seen Universalists invited to speak all in the name of spirituality.

We can not forget that Paul’s “spirit is provoked” vs. 16 when he enters Athens. He is not trying to find ways to discover common ground, he is looking for a way to teach truth.

I understand that much spiritual discipline in the church today is off target. Spirituality is confined to the same old read a verse or go to church. I recognize that at times deep truth is presented as convenient information and called spiritual. That neglect doesn’t not allow us to change the focus. It is not about finding common ground or even agreement. It is getting people to see the need to repent.

In our haste to acknowledge spirituality we can not miss repentance because if spirituality lacks that it is nothing more than self serving emotionalism. No, we need to be aware that for many today spirituality is not seeking for the divine but creating what isn’t real. If we get caught up in that we have done no one any favors.

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