Monday, December 06, 2010

Who Shapes You?

Continuing our discussion on Michael Spencer's Mere Churchianity with Glynn Young and Nancy Rosback. Melissa at In Silence, Humming Softly has also joined the discussion so be sure to check out her thoughts as well. This week we're on Chapter 17, the penultimate chapter of the book. You can check out Glynn's thoughts here and Nancy's here.

This is it, this is the home stretch. Only one chapter to go. For the past 16 chapters of Mere Churchianity, Michael Spencer has described symptom after symptom of what is wrong with the Church in America today. Now we're getting into the nitty-gritty of what to do about it. I've been worried while going through this book by an undercurrent of go-at-it-alone Christianity since the target audience are those who have left the Church physically or spiritually. I'm grateful for this chapter to put those worries to rest. In this chapter, Michael gives a simple description of what Jesus-shaped spirituality is: it is personal and communal, it is mentored, it is saturated in the Scriptures, it grows in the context of service and the Gospel, it is found in relationships.

As I was reading through this chapter and pondering what to write about this week, I couldn't help but think of those in my life who have shaped my spirituality (hopefully to some degree to be Jesus-shaped). I felt it appropriate to lift them up before the Lord in thanksgiving. Most of these names will not likely mean anything to you, but that's ok. Some are heroes in the faith. Others are brothers and sisters I fought beside through different spiritual battles. Still others are those whose subtle influence have directed my spiritual course. Off the top of my head, I'm certain this isn't an exhaustive list. Collectively, they have brought me to where I am today.

Obviously my family, especially my dad and grandpa for their tired service to the church, my sister's example of "live to serve", my mom's patience, and my grandma for being the most loving person I've ever known. Fr. Bauer, Mike and Matt, Justin and Bart, Ryan and Kevin, Fr. Roger and Fr. Carl, Joe, Rob, Matt, Jesus, Justin (again, just at a different stage in life) and Justin, Jeff, Jeremy and Paul, David, Jim(!), Steve, John, Flavian, Roel, Rama, Brandon, Sam, Brent, Rob, Steve, Wes, Amy, Alyson, Glenn, Tim, Morris, Shawn, Josh, Bob, Fred, Steve, Neil, Luke, Dave, Jon, Todd, Lathan, Chris, Lorenzo, Marion and Tommy, Fred, Ivan, Kenny, Fabian, Glynn, Jay, Duane, Kevin, Bridget, Ryan, Dusty, Peter, Michael, Jason, and of course, my wife.

My spirituality would look differently if not for these people inspiring me, challenging me, and/or simply befriending me. I could not have ever had a relationship with Jesus alone. I cannot continue to have a relationship with Jesus on my own. These friends, family, and brothers and sisters in Christ have helped me to "Follow Jesus in the Life I Have".


Michael Perkins said...

I most certainly agree that our "online friends" have shaped our life and walks. And I think I've finally decided to pull the trigger on purchasing Spencer's book.

Glynn said...

When you stop and consider it, it's amazing how many people have shaped us and helped us grow, encouraging and challenging and stimulating us. And it's something we should be thankful for, every day.

S. Etole said...

And the people we are unaware of that offer prayers on our behalf preparing the soil.

Fatha Frank said...

@Michael, you noticed that did you? :) I knew I was leaving a couple off, so thanks for commenting. You're now added! And yes, it is worth reading if for nothing else than to challenge the status quo of our present walk with Christ.

@Glynn, I don't thank God enough for everyone I listed. Maybe that's why it was put on my heart as I was reading this last chapter.

Anonymous said...

yes, the home stretch!

and i agree, we would not get very far without the Love and care that God sends our way in others. such wonderful unexpected happenings. all kinds of people in all kinds of places.

challenges, inspiration, guidance, prayer, fellowship, Love.

i thank God for you.