Reconciling Theology and Spiritual Christianity

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When I was a student at Caltech in Pasadena, I used to visit the Fuller Seminary Bookstore.  One day, I saw a small shelf labelled “Practical Theology.”  I turned around and looked at the rows upon rows of bookshelves filling the small building and asked, “Then what in God’s name is the rest of this?”

I still haven’t found a satisfying answer.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am fully convinced of the idea of theology.  It is essential to know what we believe, and I completely agree that our concept of God ultimately shapes every aspect of our lives.  I have been deeply moved and blessed by many of the theologians I have read and studied under.

And yet…

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Spiritual Christianity: Theology, Simplified

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Update: Accepted as a Poster Session. Slides now available.

Abstract submitted for PassionTalks 2018 on Saturday, August 11th at Convergence House of Prayer in Fremont, CA.

Spiritual Christianity arose from a series of blog posts I wrote to prepare my seven-year-old daughter for baptism.  I wanted her to start out with a faith that was:

  • Resilient to disappointments
  • Relevant to culture
  • Revolutionary to society
  • Reviving to the church

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Anjali’s Catechism: A Childlike Invitation to Spiritual Christianity

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Anjali’s Catechism: The Book is coming in Summer 2019.  Preview now.

The Invitation

Are you ready to:

  1. Embrace the One who created the universe as the Heavenly Father who loves you like Jesus?
  2. Submit your awareness, values, and goals to becoming more like Christ’s?
  3. Receive God’s Spirit, Word, and Body to reveal and heal the wounds in your spirit that hinder you from becoming like Jesus?
  4. Value God’s happiness, glory, and relationships more than your own?
  5. Practice generosity and vulnerability so others can see Christ in you?
  6. Surrender childlike happiness for the grown-up joy of loving like Jesus?

Lessons

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Lesson 6/6 Joy (Anjali’s Catechism)

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Spiritual Maturity: Thanks

God made all of us on purpose. We are happy when we obey that purpose. We become happier the better we understand and live out that purpose.

We share many purposes with other people, because God made us the same:

  • Our bodies are happy when we eat healthy, rest well, and use them as they were intended.
  • Our souls are happy when experience beauty.
  • Our minds are happy when we discover truth.
  • Our hearts are happy when we share love.

Joy is happiness of the spirit. It is the deepest and most important kind of happiness. But there are two very different ways our spirits can be happy.

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Lesson 4/6 True Love (Anjali’s Catechism)

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WorshipHe’s Worth It

The whole point of becoming a Christian is to know and love God, ourselves, and others the way Jesus did.  But what exactly is love?

We use the word “love” whenever we strongly desire or value something.  But there are three very different kinds of love:

  1. Happiness: because it what we want and makes us feel good
  2. Glory: because it helps us become or be known as our best
  3. Relationship: because we feel or want to be connected to it

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Lesson 3/6: The Wound (Anjali’s Catechism)

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HolinessOpen to God

Lots of people admire Jesus.  Even those who aren’t Christians often consider him a  model for how human beings should treat each other.

Last time we talked about skills that help us become more like Jesus.  So why doesn’t everyone practice those skills? Why do we ourselves often do the opposite of what Jesus wants us to do?

Because we have a wound in our spirit.

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