the flywheel, and other things

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:02 pm by Administrator

all the self-help/business gurus eventually distill their ideas into some kind of pictorial. my company is getting Studerized, which means we’re all about the flywheel. passion–>principles–>pillar results, in a self-sustaining cycle.

here’s my flywheel:

religious belief–>relational experience–>psychological impact

i like my flywheel. i think it’s honest.

a lot of religious people i’ve met would design a different flywheel, that would look like this:

scripture–>religious belief–>life experience

in other words, scripture takes a prominent place (as an independent authority or influence), and psychology has little or no role in informing belief. i’m going to come out and call that dishonest. one’s feelings and ever-shifting perspectives always inform basic religious belief. and life experiences don’t directly illuminate the truth of scripture, outside of reorienting one’s psychology or perspective. i know i’m being prescriptive, but there it is.

i’m at a point in my life where i would define the main fruits of my relationship with God as psychological. and that isn’t to diminish the importance of whatever impact i may have had on other people or on my environment. but i’ll say that it is easier for me to define the psychological changes i’ve experienced than it is for me to define the impact i’ve had on others—primarily because i’m not convinced that any particular person has changed for the better solely on the basis of my influence. even when it comes to religious “conversion”, i can’t think of a situation in which i could call another person’s salvation the very fruit of my own life.

but i can attest very much to the changes in my way of thinking, and i think that God wants me to delight in these changes. they were hard won. many of them were earned through suffering. these changes that increased my ability to sacrifice, to understand, and to love were not simply “imputed” to me; they were lessons i had to reflect on, learn, and own for myself. it’s because of this process that i really do align myself theologically with the new perspectives on Paul. beyond basic covenantal identification, i can’t really separate justification from sanctification. in fact, i own my justification far more now than i ever could have twenty years ago as a younger believer. i express my justification through intercessory power with a greater measure of authority and confidence than i ever did as a twelve year old who was no less passionate about Christ.

here are some of the ways in which my psychology and perspective have changed, due to the grace of God:

1. i value the people of God, where once i esteemed only personal mysticism.
2. i believe i can intercede in prayer, where once i believed myself merely a passive participant in God’s preordained plan.
3. i have learned to be wrong about everything except the singularity and lordship of Christ; and in this even, i have learned to be cautious in humility.
4. i believe that my feelings are both important and necessary, even when it is not proper to act on them.
5. i believe that moral perfection is nothing to be gained, apart from what is required by God for His work.
6. i listen with my pain and my brokenness, where once i listened with my knowledge about things.
7. i have learned to accept that i love many things, including myself; but i have learned that devotion to God consists not in despising these things but rather loving Christ above and beyond all else.

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