JR Woodward, Heinz 57 and being more Christ-like

kinnon —  May 4, 2007 — 2 Comments

JR Woodward is another very good writer and blogger living in L.A. (He also happens to be a pastor.) His post today, Heinz 57 Spirituality – Part 1 is a classic JR post – from a paper he’s writing for his Master’s degree @ Fuller.

A while back I was trying to fix a drawer. I came to that one screw I had to get loose, and the more I worked to loosen that screw the tighter it seemed to get. A carpenter friend of mine was visiting me and saw my dilemma. He looked for a moment or two and said, “Oh, this has a left-handed thread. It’s a reverse screw. You have to tighten or loosen it going in the opposite direction.” I’m thinking, it took me 10 years to find out how screws work, and now they change the rules on me?

There’s a sense in which Spiritual Formation is kind of like a reverse screw. Everything in the culture that seems right, in the Scripture, comes out wrong. The way up is the way down. The way to spiritual wealth is to acknowledge your spiritual poverty. The way to live is to die. The way to rule is to serve. I mean, the screw just doesn’t work right. It’s out of place.

But unless we understand the reverse nature of the screw, we will never be the people that God is longing for us to become. Too often, we approach life transformation in the same way the world does, we adopt the values of our culture and work real hard to tighten the screw only to find out that the tighter the screw gets the less we become like Jesus.
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More than anything in life, I want to be more like Jesus. It is my prayer and hope that the community that I help lead would become more like Jesus. An encouraging verse I was thinking about recently was, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

Being Christ-like has been a primary idea in the many books we have read for ML582. (Ed: The class JR is taking @ Fuller.) We are to be more like Jesus, not just as individuals, but as communities of God’s people. John Drane in The McDonaldization of the Church has this to say:

“Counting people should not be made a substitute for taking the risk to focus on discipleship, renewal and ministry. A more discerning question will be not, ‘how many of us are there?’ but ‘how much like Christ have we become?'”

Stanley Hauerwas put it this way:

“The most important social task of Christians is to be nothing less than a community capable of forming people with virtues sufficient to witness to God’s truth in the world… it is not the task of the Church to try to develop social theories or strategies… rather, the task of the Church… is to become a polity that has the character necessary to survive as a truthful society.”

And finally, Dallas Willard encourages the church to focus on the goal being like Christ by putting our efforts under God and making “spiritual formation in Christlikeness the exclusive primary goal of the local congregation.”

Please read the entire post…and follow the series.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

2 responses to JR Woodward, Heinz 57 and being more Christ-like

  1. Sigh.

    “The most important social task of Christians is to be nothing less than a community capable of forming people with virtues sufficient to witness to God’s truth in the world … it is not the task of the Church to try to develop social theories or strategies… rather, the task of the Church… is to become a polity that has the character necessary to survive as a truthful society.”

    I have so many problems with what Hauerwas claims, not the least of which is the notion that our virtues are what makes us as Church adequate to witness to God.

    Reply
  2. Gideon,
    Fair enough, but do you agree the Christian community should be forming people with virtues sufficient to witness to God’s truth in the world?

    I think our loss of the catechesis in our Christian communities has played a huge role in the dumbing down of the church – and our inability to adequately reflect those virtues that reveal God’s truth.

    Reply

What do you think?