Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
Continued from this post: Spiritual Frontier
Back in high school, our Fellowship of Christian Athletes met in the health classroom, three long tables deep, all facing the white board. Health posters that said “Don’t smoke” and “Exercise Helps Your Self-Esteem!”, decorated the otherwise bare cinder block walls. A handful of teen-zombies stumbled into the room cleaning sleep from their eyes. These were the days before double-shots, macchiatos, ventis, and mochas on every corner. Looking back now, I wonder how much fellowshipping could be expected at 7 AM. Disoriented good mornings and mumbled hellos.
I’ll never forget one gentleman that came to share one Thursday morning. I believe he had wonderful intentions, bless his heart, to direct high school students in life with Christ. He spoke with the warmth of a grandfather and possessed a smile that rivaled Santa’s. With the dry-erase marker and blank canvas he diagramed an old fashioned wheel, a cross between a boat’s steering device and a bicycle tire. He explained that Christ belongs at the hub, and our Christian life flows out of that through four spokes of fellowship, prayer, the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit. To complete the metaphor, he described the engineering of a wheel and how uneven spokes would hinder a wheels capacity to function. You can imagine the wheel’s inability to roll when its spokes differ in length. His message asserted that in order to live the functional Christian life, our prayer life and time in the Word and experience of community and life in the Spirit must be at equal and sufficient levels. Then life works.
Even at seventeen, I knew something wasn’t right. True, elements of the message have value, but overall his explanation of life with Jesus was as exciting as the lesson on proteins and carbohydrates I’d hear later that day. It was as if he fed us vegetables minus the nutritional value. I fear he lead us to a formula for success rather than a river of life. Plugging prayer, Scripture, friends, and what Celtic Christians call the wild goose all equally into my Blackberry calendar simply will not translate into spiritual growth. Philip Yancey comments, “I used to think that everything important in my life- marriage, work, close friends, relationship with God- needed to be in order. One defective area, like one malfunctioning program on my computer, would cause the entire system to crash. I have since learned to pursue God and lean heavily on his grace even when, especially when, one of the other areas is plummeting toward disaster.”
I wrestle with what it means to go after “more”. My inner administrator wants a plan and schedule rather than a cry from the heart, one that may go unanswered.