John Ortberg interviews Dallas Willard at the Knowing Christ Conference. During the last minute or so Dallas speaks of passing from life through death to life. —— Posted with permission from the Dallas Willard Center for Spiritual Formation. Full conference videos can be found here: http://dallaswillardcenter.com/2013-conference/conference-videos/
A friend of mine listened to the Myths of Mammon podcast I did with Wayne Jacobsen on the God Journey and we were messaging with each other about “impression management.” She brought up the same struggle I have. I know we are not alone.
How do I not try to make myself into a product, knowing that the very nature of the internet is that you have to make an instant impression or people will go elsewhere in a second?
Here is my heart’s response.
The rich young ruler drew life from his great wealth. When asked to part with it, he could not do it. It was his life. (Mark 10:17-27) I am grateful that Jesus does not put me to the test and use me as his teaching point. But I ask myself – what am I drawing life from? Are there things in my life that if I had to give up, I would be worse than sad, I would feel like I had died?
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. . . all theology, like all fiction, is at its heart autobiography, and that what a theologian is doing essentially is examining as honestly as he can the rough-and-tumble of his own experience with all its ups and downs, its mysteries and loose ends, and expressing in logical, abstract terms the truths about human life and about God that he believes he has found implicit there.
Most dangerous of all is our tendency to turn any expression of simplicity into a new legalism. How quickly we calcify what should always remain alive and changing. How soon we seize upon some externalism in order to judge and control others. How much we like these nice easy ways to determine who is in and who isn’t, who has it and who doesn’t.
Is it any wonder that we struggle and strain in an attempt to express exterior simplicity? Unquestionably, this enterprise is fraught with many pitfalls and dangers.
Jesus’ compassion is characterized by a downward pull. That is what disturbs us. We cannot even think about ourselves in terms other than those of an upward pull, an upward mobility in which we strive for better lives, higher salaries and more prestigious positions. Thus, we are deeply disturbed by a God who embodies a downward movement.
A bit of humor with a serious question . . . What possessions do you own that possess you?