Tension of Discipleship/Discovery/Presence

Re-reading Chuck Conniry’s Soaring in the Spirit. Looking into the way of discovering Christ and the way of new creation and mystery.

Conniry sketches the disposition of the Protestant world after the Reformation and the ways different faith groups developed “plans” of growing in Christ. On the one hand, gaining knowledge was the way of growth (orthodoxy) and on the other, Pietism or (orthopraxy- right living, focused upon actions) was stressed. These two dispositions formed our faith culture and are still in action today. Go to 10 churches and we could find some churches that stress the idea of what we should think about Jesus (orthodoxy) and others on how we should live or feel about Jesus (orthopraxy).

In the middle is the way of mystery or what Conniry calls, Christopraxis. Mystics were obsessed with discovering Jesus in the everyday rhythms of life. When Paul mentions being ‘crucified with Christ… no longer I who live… but Christ in me”, he was elevating this idea. God is not stuffed into “rationalistic propositions or pietistic practices, for such things are of our own making. God is encountered in the immediacy of everyday life.” (102)

Enter the humble, yet rich example of Brother Lawrence, who used his natural duties of life to be a sanctuary and classroom to discover God. Brother Lawrence “was convinced that the primary medium through which God is present to us is the ‘common business’ of life.” (103)

Reflecting on my own spiritual life, I’ve tried to navigate between the two poles of intellect and conduct. I sense a ‘radical middle’ that is worth pursuing. Bumping into Christ in the commonness of life is a wonderful thought. Perhaps the role of the faithful community is to help ‘nudge’ (Len Sweet) one another to awaken another to His abiding presence that has always been here with us- even when we haven’t recognized it.


Published by joeskillen

I'm a husband, dad of 2, Pastor at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, KS.

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