What is my hope for Contemporary Christian Spirituality as a class, my self personally or my ministry?
As I ponder this question, my first thought is why do these three things need to be different? My faith is intertwined in my life that it is hard to look at something I do that isn’t a part of who I am. Yes we need to keep things separated for good boundaries, but there are times when we should embrace the connectedness.
My hope is to get a better understanding of the spiritual side of our religion. Religion is a word that can be both good and bad. And according to Bradley P. Holt we have lost the spiritual in religion and have boiled religion down to the institution. Holt mentions “Baron von Hilgel, an early-twentieth-century scholar who wrote that religion has three dimensions: the intellectual, the institutional, and the mystical.” (Holt, Bradley P. Thirsty for God. p. 14) Holt says that today the mystical is called spiritual and we have lost this aspect of religion and focus only on the institutional. We need to reclaim the intellectual and spiritual aspects so we can have balance to religion.
My hope is I will, through this class, come to a deeper understanding of the spiritual aspects of all of life and dive deeper into the faith I have been gifted by God. This in turn will hopefully help me be a better campus pastor. Able to hear and be with students to help them connect in a deeper way to the spiritual aspects of their lives and thus helping them grow closer to God.
Because to be honest that is my hope every day. That the things I do help those around me know that they are loved by God and seen as they are. That my role as pastor is one of helping people see the love that God has for them and help them see how they are part of the kindom of God. Yes I know I used kindom, instead of kingdom. Kindom is a word floating around in Christian circles that is a substitute for kingdom that refers to the family of God. It is not about God reigning in power, even though God will, it is about us being a part of the family, adopted and loved as children. That is the hope. That we all realize, feel, and see that we belong here. Just as we are.
So I look forward to diving in deeper. To looking at different ways to connect to God and access the spiritual aspect of religion and not just have it be about doctrine and rules. Because religion can and should be so much more than rules we have to follow. It should be about love, because that is what God is. Love.
My hope is we will all learn to be in closer, deeper communion with God and that we will all love as God has and does love us.
That is my hope. For this class. For my ministry. For my life.
Loving People. Loving God.