Friday, May 15, 2009

New book by Dallas Willard

In my humble opinion, one of the true spiritual giants in our time has been Dallas Willard. Not only does he have a profound biblical message for the church in our generation, he has grown and developed his character and thinking outside of church ministry, in a philosophy department of a secular university. I sincerely hope there are some young men and women coming up in university settings that will replace him when he is gone.

Have any of you read his newest book yet? I have not, I just became aware of it this morning when I went to Scot McKnight’s web site and saw this overview of the book.

I believe that the greatest weakness of the current church in the United States is the underdeveloped spiritual formation. Dallas Williard picked up where Robert Coleman (Master Plan of Evangelism) left off, and has been calling followers of Christ and the church to in-depth discipleship to Jesus for a generation –.
he has been a voice in the wilderness, crying out to the church to prepare the way of the Lord through spiritual disciplines and spiritual formation.

His new book is called Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge

Here is a brief selection from today’s post on Jesuscreed:

The third part of the book, which shifts slightly in style to less philosophical argument and more to Christian exposition, concerns knowledge of Christ in the spiritual life -- and here he enters into what for many of us is the classical style of Willard's form of a more mystically-shaped Christian life. The seventh chp enters into a spirited but reasonable form of Christian inclusivism, which he calls Christian pluralism where final redemption is ultimately shaped by whether or not a person -- Christian religion or not -- has a heart that is properly oriented toward God.

Finally, he has a chp in which he expands the meaning of "pastor" and argues that it is pastors who have the responsibility of making this "knowledge of Christ" known today

Which book by Willard has been your favorite? What do you get out of his writings as the central theme?

The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives.(1988). San Francisco: Harper and Row, ISBN 0-06-069442-4 (you can buy this for as cheap as $3.75 online now)

The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God (1998). San Francisco: Harper, ISBN 0-06-069333-9

Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship With God (1999). Intervarsity Press (USA), ISBN 0-8308-2226-7

Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ (2002). Colorado Springs: NavPress, ISBN 1-57683-296-1

The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship" (2006). San Francisco: Harper, ISBN 0-06-088243-3


just joe said...

I was reading the "Great Omission" just about the time I was entering into the History Department at FIU. He makes a comment in the Great Omission that he was not aware of any single church, church organization or network of churches that made discipleship to Christ and spiritual formation its central focus.

I felt prompted to write to him to tell him about our efforts in Miami and a little about our movement. He wrote back and asked a few questions about how we go about "making disciples." I had the feeling that he views discipleship a little differently than one man mentoring another. Below is his email response:

Date: Friday, August 4, 2006, 11:19PM

Dear Joseph:

Remember to keep Jesus at your side constantly as you study history, and ask him to teach you. He knows more about history than any one else.

I am glad to learn of what you are doing. Do you have time to answer two questions?
(1) How do your people self-identify as disciples of Jesus? That is, what does it mean to them?
(2) What particular things that he did an taught are your people learning how to do--learning to become the kind of people who do them? Is this a part of your "program." This is not to challenge your claim, to to inquire into the details.


Brian Emmet said...

A timely topic for me personally: I was asked, because of my work in our school, to give a talk at the weekly "family night" at a local church on the spiritual formation of children. Obviously a much bigger subject than I could cover in the 45 minutes allotted, but it was a great exercise to get my thinking organized.

My "big ideas"--first, spiritual formation of some kind is happening to everyone all of the time. Every environment we find ourselves in every day is a spiritually formative experience for us. This does not mean that all of that "spiritual formation" is from/of God!

Second, we cannot talk about the spiritual formation of others without attending to our own spiritual formation. Parents--and churches--do too much "handing off" of their kids to 'experts' of various kinds--to the youth soccer program becasue those coaches are better at soccer than we are, to youth group because those experts are better at...

Last, what children need is access to the life of God in the life of their parents. "You get what you are"--we produce/reproduce in our children/disciples what we truly are, not what we say or think we are!

Michael said...

Joseph how did you respond to Dallas' questions?

just joe said...

At the time, we were having people sign commitments for accountability, and we had sort of a pyramid or flow chart of each person discipling someone else using the commands of Christ. I told him what we are doing and I didn’t have the feeling that he was very impressed. Since then, my friend Dr. Sam convinced me that the sort of “over-under”, multi-level marketing approach to discipleship was not very good and we threw all that structure out the window. Now, I concentrate on my own discipleship to Christ (work out your own salvation) and I encourage and share with any fellow disciples who ask for input or help, but I see it more as walking together along the road to Emmaus rather than a type of G12 approach.

I would love to have him come to a conference sometime and answer questions about how to make disciples.

John M. said...

Didn't Robert Grant mention having lunch with Dallas Willard? Maybe he get him for ACM.

Michael said...

Joseph, I would love him to come and speak too.

Brian, I agree with your statement(not that I disagree with the others, but this stands out to me)
"first, spiritual formation of some kind is happening to everyone all of the time. Every environment we find ourselves in every day is a spiritually formative experience for us. This does not mean that all of that "spiritual formation" is from/of God!"

If only we could see God at work in us, in all that happens to us and around us, versus just what might happen on Sunday morning. He uses it all. Just ask Joseph (the bible Joseph). God's word as the Psalms said, "tested" or maybe discipled him?

Brian Emmet said...

Thanks, Michael. This idea has particularly impressed me as I've been thinking about parents and the spiritual formation of their children. I just think far too many Christian parents see much/most of life as "spiritually neutral," some of life as "spiritually positive/beneficial" and some of it as "spiritually harmful" (drugs, porn, the occult, etc.) They miss the reality that their children are ALWAYS being formed by something/someone... which is true for them (us), as well!

Robert said...

It was actually a small dinner gathering where I was seated next to Dallas. We had engaging conversation regarding spiritual formation...especially the value of liturgy as formational. He made several interesting comments. "Those that acknowledge that they have a liturgy tend to do it rather well. Those that indicate they have no liturgy still have a liturgy and tend not to do it so well." Another comment..."I have observed that those who place a premium upon the spontaneous tend to have spontaneous events with a predictable degree of regularity."

I offered the thought that ordered worship presents me with the opportunity to "recalibrate to Jesus"...he paused to register intrigue over the idea. I was humbled by the suggestion that I had anything to offer to this great mind. This reflects more on his humility than anything I had to say. Last year, I had the opportunity to carry J. I. Packers suitcase. I carry those two memories as treasures. BTW, Dallas enjoys the richness of liturgy offered in old English because of its richness.

Dallas has been a professor of philosphy at USC since 1965. I don't know that I have been in the presence of man so comfortable in his own skin. If we can arrange for Dallas to be with us at an ACM gathering, we will be truly blessed.


John M. said...

That would be awesome Robert! Are you going to pursue it? His comments to you give one plenty to think about -- and yours to him was very thought-provoking as well.

So, I came away with a question for everyone. Regarding Dallas' obervation about the regularity of spontaneous events where spontaneity is valued and expected. Is that because the Holy Spirit moves more freely and spontaneously in those contexts? Or is the "spontaneity" simply of their own making?

steve H said...

Robert, your mention of J.I. Packer reminds me of the time in 1980 when I rode in the backseat of a car between J. I. Packer and Harry Blamires (student and friend of C. S. Lewis). The two of them conversed over my head -- in at least two ways.

Willard and others have written about spiritual formation going on all the time. He points out that we are either being spiritually formed such that we are growing toward the image of Christ, or being spiritually formed such that we are becoming the horribly the opposite of the image of Christ. There is no neutral ground and no neutral enviroment.

I have been realizing more and more that if I am not making disciples in the sense that they are becoming more and more disciples of Jesus along with me, then I am missing the mark. In the final analysis there is only one discipler who is the way that we all should be learning to live. Just as there is also, in the final analysis, only one shepherd whom we should all be following.

I haven't yet found anywhere where Willard sets forth any thing like a full theology of the church, but the hints or comments about the church that he does make touch on some ideas that have long been at work in my mind -- sometimes actively, often almost dormantly.

just joe said...

Discussing Dallas Willard leads me to want to consider how to “make disciples.” I have been rethinking the concept of “making disciples” for the last 8 or 9 years, and I have tried a number of approaches (trial and error, mostly error). I think the old way that we used to try to do it, where spiritual leaders “mentor” other men who makes themselves “accountable” in some fashion, although it is better than nothing, tends toward paternalism and spiritual dependency – especially if the disciple relationship lasts more than a year or two. Obviously, none of us are Jesus, but even Jesus quickly promoted his 12 disciples to the status of “friends” after only a brief 2 or 3 year apprenticeship. A 10 or 20 year discipleship approach runs the danger of quickly becomes a pecking order.

Bob Mumford pointed out a couple of years ago, that in the Great Commission, Jesus commands us to “make disciples” BEFORE he tells us to baptize them or teach them all that he has commanded us.

The implication of what he was saying is that making disciples is closer to evangelism than mentoring or training. The idea of making a disciple is to find someone who is oriented around themselves (or something else), and effectively turn them so that they are moving toward Christ and orienting around him instead. If you remember, Bob said that how you can tell if a person is in Christ is by looking at which way their feet is pointed. Then comes baptism, teaching and participation life of the body.

I no longer seek to disciple men … I seek to "make them disciples of Jesus." There is a subtle difference but important over the long haul.

steve H said...

Jesus did say "Make disciples" first chronologically; however, in the Greek only "make disciples" is an independent verb. More literally translated (as you probably know, Joseph), the text would read "Going, therefore, make disciples... baptizing them... and teaching them...." In this reading baptizing and teaching would be essential parts of making disciples. This should not take away from what I think you are saying -- that there is (usually at least) a process of making disciples that leads up to baptism as well as continuing from baptism.

Robert said...

This raises a valuable question...what is involved in making disciples? I mean practically, what will you do in disciple making (the short list)?

Laurel Long said...

Good Brothers,
The topic of discipleship, mentoring, spiritual formation, etc., is very interesting and always relevant. I have not read the book or heard of the man who wrote the book. He is obviously immensely popular among pastors and church leaders for his humility, honesty, and brilliant mind. Men of this caliber are indeed rare and should be acknowledged and accessed when discovered.
I must admit though after reading the entries, of this blog and others, that there is a recurring theme in so many expressions on subjects regarding spiritual life that disturbs me. It is natural that sons and daughters, when they come to a certain age, that they seek other examples of doing life; it is natural to want a different context for contrast and comparison. But, why are you all so habitually critical of your spiritual upbringing?, or at least this is the impression that one is left with. You (we) were right in the middle of Church history and doing a marvelous work that was unprecedented in many generations. We have born fruit that remains! You guys could teach Mr. Willard more than a thing or two!
I have great difficulty with theologians. They usually stay just above the fray of real life and the spiritual battles that the rest of us have engaged. They fly just below the radar of life; they are there but undetected watching and waiting. Their brilliant minds and spiritual aptitudes forcefully direct their formidable energies in both areas towards evaluating our battles and current challenges; they take up pen and paper and begin to write about what the church has and has not done and why. To me it is very much like comparing the men and women we have sent to Iraq to fight and the elite intellectuals who remain in our ivory towers of education who criticize those who lay their lives on the line and fight for their right to discuss the legitimacy of the war their fighting. Irreconcilable differences on how to preserve life, spiritual and physical, in all its various forms, stages, qualities, and conditions exists in the church. We are not pacifists, but warriors. We need to teach our young that life is not peaceful quietude, but a fierce battle for which every single person must be prepared. Our fathers taught us that.
What is wrong with what we did? I think we need to be more than thankful that the Lord put us under such awesome men, imperfect as they are. We had the privilege of being discipled by men and women who will go down in church history. I am pretty sure that what’s his name (Williard?) will not be mentioned. Our fathers will; they cause enough trouble that they will be mentioned one way or the other. We are their offspring like it or not!
For what it's worth.

Michael said...

I think your question is a good one. I don't believe we make room for spontaneity becauase we don't plan for it or make room for it. I am sure there is a place for scripting or planning out a meeting, but making room for the unexpected and then responding accordingly brings a different level of expectation. Again I am sure there are some settings that this would not be appropriate, but I wonder how often the Spirit is quenched and life is not released.

Michael said...

One other comment. I too agree with Laura. We can certainly criticize aspects of how discipling was applied, but you can't fault the attempt to obey the truth as we understood it at the time. We want people to obey but we don't want it to get messy. Unfortunately in our attempts to follow Christ we bring our flesh with us. We certainly need wisdom when applying truth, but many times we get the one, wisdom, by trying to obey the other, truth.
I am grateful that we have within our DNA action and obedience to truth. It might not always look pretty and we might need more revelation to act with wisdom. But...we acted.

Billy Long said...

Brothers, I do have a question (which you will see at the bottom of this article), but will preface it with some preliminary thoughts. In a novel everything has to be sequentially in order, clear, and without ambiquity. The events in chapter 3 can not contradict the events in chapter 2 or the reader will lose his sense of the plausibility of the story. But you and I know that reality is more complicated than a novel. Life is full of apparent contradictions and enigmas. There are many facets to every situation. I think many intellectuals have difficulty with the Bible because they fail to recognize that the Bible was not written like a novel, neat and pretty. It portrays reality and does not bother to explain all of the details that cause the skeptic to stumble.
Some of these principles of “reality” are.
1. There is always a “flip-side” of the coin. For every truth or principle there are other facets and aspects, just as true, but with different applications. Real truths do not contradict each other. They do not balance each other, but in proper perspective they balance us.
2. There is the “pendulum” principle. People tend to take a truth or principle and run to extremes with it, and then eventually swing back in the other direction. Ideally it would be nice if we could find the healthy balance to begin with, but usually we have to “make the trip” across the swing.
3. There is the “both/and” principle. We all tend to be “either/or” people, and usually have trouble incorporating other aspects that we think will invalidate the one we like.
4. There is the “Diversity of Gifts” issue. Our gifting tends to influence our focus, approach, and general outlook. We tend to see the perspectives of other giftings as competing with our own.
There are two problems we run into. We either over-emphasize one aspect to the neglect of the other, or we try so hard to stay “balanced” that we ride the fence without doing anything. Years ago a lady came up to me right after one of my sermons and said, “You had some very good points, but in balancing each point you seemed to do away with all your points.” So it seems we almost have to dive into the new, emphasize what needs to be emphasized, and then mellow out as we go. That is better than staying safe and innocuous and doing nothing.
Now to my question which relates to A and B below:
A. I have been on some projects in the Miami area for a while now and have enjoyed watching and touching what Joseph is doing. I think I am correct in describing it as an attempt to reach out to non-Christians (pre-Christians?) where they are, in their own culture, with a new paradigm, with wisdom that does not offend them, and which is not religious. This is seen in Joseph’s God-party, bar group, etc.
B. The discussion in this blog has now touched the subject of discipleship, which relates to a person’s commitment to Jesus, and his development and growth in knowing and following Jesus.
One of the problems I had with the seeker-sensitive approach that has been popular in recent history is that in their effort to reach new people without offending them, the committed believer who was hungry to be taught and to deepen his walk with the Lord and his knowledge of the Bible seemed to be laid aside. All these new people were coming in but going nowhere. The problem tended to be outreach but no true discipleship. It seems the new paradigm of reaching out without offense to non-Christians where they are could produce the same problem. My question, therefore, is two-fold:
1. How do we practice A, without losing B?
2. How do we practice B, without losing A?
I appreciate both A and B. As noted in my long introduction, I do not want to sacrifice either for the other. How can we do both?

Thanks for letting me contribute to the dialogue.
Billy Long

Billy Long said...

One other thought. Joseph, how do you see the discipleship follow-up to those in your various outreach endeavors? How do you answer my question above in your particular situation?

just joe said...

Hi Billy, Michael, Laurel (it was good to be with you Billy and Laurel last weekend -- although not enough time!) Robert, Steve, John and others.

Billy, I just put some new humor on my humor blog ... one of them is a photo of the divine finger ...

Kick-butt humorBilly, to respond to your question, I very much agree with your concern about the seeker sensitive approach. I also occasionally worry about similar issues in my situation -- partly because of where i am at personally.

I think the difference is simple: in a large 'seeker-sensitive' mega-church setting, the attendee can easily have the illusion of "being part of something" and worshiping even when they are being passively entertained.

In our group, I keep putting the responsibility to "work out their own salvation" squarely back on the attendees ... I even obligate them (flexibly and sensitively) to take turns bringing a topic and facilitating the discussion.

Two of the recent converts have started 'dropping by' on Monday nights to 'hang-out' and go a little deeper into the scriptures with me and my son John. I take it that they are moving into a clear mode of wanting to follow Jesus in as disciplined students (i.e. "disciples").

Others are just not there yet. So we 'hang out' and have fun. I am hoping that by my own hunger for God and commitment to follow Jesus in a disciplined way will eventually get 'salty' enough to make them thirsty.

However, in our group, we keep coming back to emphasize to those who are attending regularly that they will only get out of the time what they put in to it. They cannot expect anyone in our group to spoon feed them. No one will carry them up the mountain. We will help them but they have to grasp the rope and climb.

Last night, one of the relatively new believers brought the topic (of his own initiative). He printed out copies of the Matthew 23 in The Message, and brought questions for discussion. He used the passage in Matthew to critique the tendency to set-up pecking orders or hierarchies among Christians between those who are “spiritual” and “leaders” and those who are not. I actually learned something from him that I had never seen in the scriptures before. Check out Matthew 23:8 for yourself:

Matthew 23:8-10 "Don't let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.

Man I wish I had read that translation 30 years ago! I have to admit I was immediately convicted by this passage: I have put people on pedestals and I have allowed people to maneuver me into taking responsibility for them. Both were wrong.

So … to conclude, in our group there is both a gathering and a filtering process: those who do not want to be disciplined followers of Christ can come and hang out and have fun, but they are never going to get false assurances that they have something they don’t. Those that really want more of God, will be encouraged to move forward, and we will probably get together at other times to learn together more about Jesus.

Billy Long said...

Thanks for your comments, Joseph. You know that I appreciate what you are doing. As for me, I am on the road so much it has prevented me from doing anything in one place. I hope the Lord will let me get into a situation (with my work) so that I can again engage the community where I live and see what the Lord would do if I would let Him lead and sovereignly birth His work with as little as possible of my imposed paradigms to interfere. [Is that possible?]. The other side of the tendency to follow the old paradigm is the "cookie cutter" tendency for people to simply try to imitate what is working in other places. Some of this is okay, but the ideal would be to learn from what is happening elsewhere while retaining the ability to let the Spirit work in relationships, methods, etc without our automaticaly choking Him with our preconceived ideas. To be able to be spritual, practical, and actually let God birth rather than our stale blueprint leggo stuff.

Robert said...

Folks...Dallas Willard hardly falls into the category of one above the fray doing analysis on those who are in the trenches. In fact, he views local pastors as his heroes and princes in the Kingdom...Kevin Davenport will attest to that fact from personal contact.

I don't align myself with those who are inclined to distance themselves from our heritage. I remain increasingly grateful for those who have served us with what was handed to them. This thing did not begin forty years ago. There must be room for constructive critcism of the think otherwise would be unrealisitic and, in my opinion, arrogant. I suggest giving Dallas a serious read before drawing conclusions about his competency to address the current cultural climate.

Our heritage is part of a larger one...a context we need to properly appreciate what we have.

We were born in the ethos of the late 60s that focused on making disciples. We did everything we could with what we understood as Kingdom thinking followers of Jesus. My previous question regarding disciple making was not intended to denegrate what we have done in the past but rather an interest in how we are doing it better given years of working at it. It is my conviction that we need to "re-present" the Gospel in our current setting. That question moves us from ideals to practicum. That may be beyond this thread. Biblical grounding, defining what it means to follow we make disciples is an important topic for review. I am in the middle of where we have been and looking for paths of entry into a culture that has not been shaped by the church. I seek to proclaim a biblical Gospel every Sunday..and the rest of the days of the week...aware that there is cultural gap for some of my listeners. I don't back off...just look for language that will help them to get it. Sometimes I am not sure the intended outcome of this conversation. What is the bottom line?

just joe said...

Robert: I really don’t think there is an intended outcome for this conversation. It is not agenda-driven, it is just an ongoing conversation around biblical and cultural themes, like good friends that meet nightly for a pipe and a pint at a pub. If we touch on things that helps someone and results in better fruit, so much for the better. For me, this blog conversation has been pretty much my only contact with a “leadership” care group, other than a couple of cigar buddies here in Miami, something which I have needed intensely over the last 18 months. Without the regular contact with Steve, Brian and John Meadows,and occasionally Michael Tomko, even within the limitations of a blog, I have no idea how I would have made it.

Regarding our efforts at discipleship in the past, I agree that the discipleship movement was a huge improvement over much of what went on before, especially impersonal pastoring from a pulpit. Debbie and I deeply benefited from the training we received and the strength of our marriage bond is a testament to that fact (because we actually put into practice what we were taught—unlike many others who didn’t make it). At the same time, I hope we can all agree that there is always room for improvement on what we have done in the past.

Billy: I strongly agree with you about the importance of the role of the Spirit. All of us should go FIRST to the Holy Spirit for guidance rather than to other models. I am convinced that what I am doing represents something the Spirit has led ME into … but I don’t intend for it to be a model for anyone else – beyond the simple fact of getting out among the unchurched -- those who have the needs. I hope that my example of relentlessly reaching out to secular young adults will do one of two things: a) inspire other people to get out there to start swimming in these secular waters of youth culture, or; b) so deeply offend people that they will carefully study the scriptures, pray and experiment to find a better way to reach secular young people without having to drink, smoke and cuss. Either way, I rejoice if it moves people out of the passive status quo.

Michael said...

I think this is a great conversation. Understanding how we can cooperate with the work of the HS in the sanctifying process of conforming someone to the image of Christ in my mind is important. At times I thought we were to quick to pull the trigger, when the timing wasn't correct.

Pro 25:11 has always stuck with me. "As apples of gold in pictures of silver, is a word spoken in season."

I remember when I was pastoring there was a man who started attending our church. He was just new christian who he felt that God had prompted him to attend our church. After our meeting and started spending time together he told me he was still living with his girl friend and wanted to know what he should do. I told him that he should read God's word and let him speak to him on what he should do. He came back to me about 2 weeks later and said he was going to change his living arrangment with his GF and it started by not sleeping with her, she eventually moved out. My point is that it would have been easier to give him a rule and ask him to follow it but it was more important that he let the Jesus lead him not me. I am know expert, and I have to work this out often with my boys.
I have to go on a walk with my wife. I have been gone for a few days. I am sure some of you will comment on my comment.

Robert said...


I get it...just processing stuff is OK. Also appreciated the thoughts on the role of the Holy Spirit. 38 years ago, I went to Ft. Lauderdale to be involved in a discipleship experiment. It was worth it. I am reviewing the subject. That's what we have been called to do. It looks different 38 years later...not the goal, but the method.

John M. said...

Joseph, To your paragraph regarding, "What's the point..."? I would say a great big. "Ditto that for me." This blog has been a personal life-line, a level of interaction and stimulation both mentally and spiritually that I do not have otherwise, and I have only benefitted from grappling with the comments and conversations here. This is a safe, comfortable place (cyber-place, I guess) that I visit at the end of each day -- a place where I can be myself, without pretense, and talk and listen to my brothers. Thank God for you brothers and this blog.

John M. said...

I just came accross a Christianity Today interview on spiritual foration, with Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. They had just co-authored a book, "The Making of the Christian, the difference between discipleship and spiritual formation.", published in 2005.

In the interview they comment on some of the same issues we're discussing here.

A couple quotes:

"Spiritual formation is character formation. Everyone gets a spiritual formation. It's like education. Everyone gets an education; it's just a matter of which one you get."

Discipleship as a term has lost its content, and this is one reason why it has been moved aside... There are really three gospels that are heard in our society. One is forgiveness of sins. Another is being faithful to your church: If you take care of your church, it will take care of you. Sometimes it's called discipleship, but it's really churchmanship. And another gospel is the social one—Jesus is in favor of liberation, and we should be devoted to that. All of those contain important elements of truth. You can't dismiss any of them. But to make them central and say that's what discipleship is just robs discipleship of its connection with transformation of character.

link to article:

Sorry it's not live. Maybe someone can fix that.

Laurel Long said...

I must attribute the same virtues to this blog as Joseph mentioned and discussed with Robert, John and others. Though I may be the only soprano voice in this resounding male chorus, I don't know how I would have made it through the past six months. You all have allowed me a solo now and then and applauded when appropriate. For this I am soooooooooo grateful. Plus, this blog is so dog-gone much fun!!!!! And I am learning so much by listening to the interaction among the group.
Currently,I am trying to serve in the context the Lord has put me in here where I live; as you know, Billy lives and works away from home and I have had to make a life for myself without him. In order to do this effectively I need the force of spiritual gravity that thrusts me back to our foundational roots; how I "was formed spiritually" and effectively discipled. Who I am and the spiritual tribe I was born into during this generation of God's continuing inexorable plan, inspires and motivates me to withdraw from rich resources deposited in me and spend lavishly on the people the Lord has brought into my life for now. What a joy!

Robert said...


You blessed me...have a good and special weekend.


Laurel Long said...

Thanks Robert, I'm so glad.
Back at cha' with regards to the weekend!

just joe said...

np Robert: keep us posted on how to pray for you through the church merger. They are not very much fun in my opinion.

I am getting ready to post a new convesation thread about appreciating our spiritual heritage that John Meadows wrote. But I am waiting for his permission. He must be away from his computer today.

Ditto on Brian's anniversary ... by-the-way, some of you might not know that Brian's father died 9 weeks ago. Well, last week, his mother followed her husband into eternity. Pray for Brian, it is a lot of loss and change in just 2 short months.