another excerpt, this one on that frustration we call community

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I’m editing my manuscript, again, and so might pluck out the occassional excerpt to post here.

Such as this one:

“The thing is the Spirit, in no way, manhandles us. We don’t become slaves of the Spirit, or pawns of the Spirit. The Spirit enables and focuses and empowers, but we work with the Spirit. This isn’t about salvation, you know, that’s the common misconception with a topic like this. Christ and the Spirit work in salvation through grace. It’s all on their end. However, once saved we are called to participate, and our willingness to participate frees us up for even greater service.”

“How do we participate?”

“The goal of our lives isn’t to go out and do all those things they talk about in Acts. That’s the Spirit working, and if we try to do it with our own power we lose heart and are totally ineffective. Our goal is to break down the barriers and sharpen our spiritual ear so we listen and our instincts are shaped by the power of the Spirit to make us into the sorts of people who naturally live in the sort of way that forms a community. We don’t do these things at first, instead we begin to mature and tap into the power that allows us and encourages us to do all of this.”

“How do we do that?”

“We create a context, by giving things up, attitudes, fixtures, whatever. Then the Spirit moves in. That’s why it was so important to me I let go of that house. It was a barrier, and it became a barrier. Not just as a house, but as a symbol. It represented a place to lay my head and it represented my desire to go out and bury my dead, my dead experiences and relationships. I had to let it all go. In letting it go the Spirit opened the door for me to find and experience a real freedom, a freedom I could never have managed, even if my goals were the same. Letting things go is the most profound Spiritual act we can do, because all that stuff, whether our possessions, ambitions, sins, whatever, they become substitutes for the Spirit. We even let spiritual leaders or tradition or good influences be the Spirit for us. But even these things are not our Holy Spirit. Each of those things good and bad whisper to us, and in the cacophony of whispers we get confused which is the real Holy Spirit. We have to abandon it all, and then we find it all, and we find each other, because when we let go, then the Spirit works in us and in others to create this profound bond, this profound reality in which our greatest joy is to serve and help and live for others. That’s the nature of the Kingdom, you know. That’s the discovery of God and heaven in this present.”


“God is drawing us towards him. Part of that process is drawing all people towards him. To grow closer to him we have to grow closer together. Think of it like we’re all climbing a mountain starting from separate spots. The closer we get to the top the nearer we all are walking with each other. It just happens. Our goal is the peak, but in going there, each step we take draws us together, so at the top, there can only be the bunch of us gathered together, all at the same goal.”

One Response to “another excerpt, this one on that frustration we call community”

  1. sonja Says:

    Interesting metaphor … I like the mental picture it creates.