Monday, March 26, 2012

Jesus is Lord, and I am not

I just came across Penelopepiscopal's blog, and I followed rabbit trails to this post from two years ago. I really like her closing line, very appropriate for Annunciation Day: " To let go of being in Planning My Life mode long enough to allow oneself to be visited by angels and surprised by joy."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ellen Charry on happiness (and the church)

Ellen Charry says that “all persons are blessed by God to enjoy themselves and their life in him. Believers learn this through the ministrations of the church that orient people toward their proper identity. When believers properly grasp that identity, they should want to become in practice who they are in God by definition” (162, emphasis added).
This is an excellent combination of the personal and the corporate in practical, spiritual theology. I'm instructing a course in Spiritual Disciplines (halfway through) and decided at the outset to focus on just such a combination. (The course used to be two courses--last time I led them, the first focused on personal spiritual formation, the second on the same in the church; this time, since the two courses were reduced to one and also because I think this is a crucial stance, I've worked to make it an exploration of both personal--not individual!--and corporate.)
She goes on, “Christian theology, eager to inculcate humility, has at times failed to encourage the natural skills and strengths humans possess for executing their calling as God’s emissaries in the world. . . . Trust in these may be construed as lack of complete trust in God, as though God and self are in competition. However, the opposite is true: failing to be confident in the freedom and creativity that become skills for building the world betrays distrust in God. Confidence in forwarding God’s purposes for creation advances humility in a robust way, a way that uses the self for the sake of divine enjoyment. Trust in one’s obedience to who one is in God is both properly humble and properly proud to be God’s faithful and successful servant” (163). Again, this fits with what I'm trying to do; the course starts with "our position in Christ" and the final project is a paper on vocation.