Systematic Graceology


The ultimate purpose and practice of Spiritual Formation is:

  1. Identifying the Anxieties for which we currently lack Grace
  2. Training us to Catharize them by the Cross of Christ

More formally:

  1. Systems Model Reality.
    1. Physical (“atoms”)
    2. Logical (“bits”)
    3. Social (“souls”)
  2. All Systems Fail
    1. There are infinite ways to Model for any given Reality
    2. All are incomplete
    3. Many are similar
    4. Some are dramatically more useful than others
  3. Systems Relate via Roles and Responsibilities
    1. Every System has two or more sub-Systems (“Children”)
    2. Every System is a sub-System of one or more super-Systems (“Parents”)
    3. Corollary: Every System has at least one side-System (“Siblings”)
  4. Real Systems consume Energy
    1. Useful Energy (“Work”) fulfills Responsibilities (producing “Joy”)
    2. Wasted Energy (“Heat”) impedes Responsibilities (producing “Anxiety” in the sense of pre-shame)
  5. Grace is the ability to bear Anxiety
  6. Catharsis removes Anxiety from the System by transforming Roles
    1. Destructive: assign a Role to capture Heat (Punishment, Exile)
    2. Disjunctive: escape a Role to dissipates Heat (Laughter, Climax)
    3. Disruptive: invent Roles that convert Heat back to Work (Revolution, Reconciliation)
    4. Demonstrative: transcend Roles to eliminate Heat (Grief, Confession, Forgiveness)
  7. The Cross of Christ is the ultimate Catharsis
    1. The only one with no Externalities
    2. Operates in the Past, Present, and Future
    3. Taking up my Cross is choosing to catharize (rather than internalize or externalize) Anxiety

End Note

I appreciate the historical importance of systematic theology, but I’ve never been clear on how it should be in used in practice. Perhaps this could become an alternative…

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