September 22, 2014

iMonk: Ten Ways I Have Changed

Seasons-fw

A classic Michael Spencer post from April, 2008.

A friend of mine recently said, “It sure seems that you’ve gone through a lot of phases during your time as a blogger.”

I’m sure it seems that way, but most of that is an illusion of the blogging life. The people around me wouldn’t have any major change in my beliefs to report since I abandoned Calvinism a few years ago.

I’m not one of those communicators who preaches and teaches my blog. Quite the opposite. I preach assigned texts and topics. I teach Bible survey and stay with the syllabus. If I’m thinking through some major shift in my eschatology or how I plan to live out the Gospel, you’d have to follow me to my blog to notice. You won’t hear about it around here in the real world.

(Now, my various attempts to find a church home have been a bit more public, and probably do look a bit puzzling to those who know me well. But that’s another story.)

I have changed, however, in ways that are very significant in my own journey. Chronicling that journey is a primary purpose of this blog and a major reason for its readership.

I can summarize my Post-Evangelical journey in ten statements:

Ten Ways I’ve Changed

1. My circle of essential beliefs is smaller than before.

2. My loyalty to Jesus as presented in the Gospels is greater than before.

3. The Church is larger, more inclusive and less local than before.

4. The Bible is simpler than before.

5. My theology is more efficient. (That is, it more quickly moves to Jesus and the Gospel, avoiding more detours, side roads and cul de sacs.)

6. The Kingdom of God is more present and fundamental than before.

7. My vocation is more satisfying than before.

8. My spirituality is more “Jesus-shaped” than before.

9. My orthodoxy is far more generous than before.

10. The Gospel is more vital to every aspect of my life than before.

Comments

  1. That’s our Michael—less is more.

    T

  2. True! In each case – that’s me.

  3. Josh in FW says:

    This blog has been a great help to me as I’ve started changing in these ways also. Thank Mike and Jeff for continuing the work of Michael Spencer. Also, thank you regular commenters: Pattie, Lee, Radagast, David Cornwell, Miguel, Eagle, Damaris, Martha, and others I’m having a hard time recalling right now.

  4. I wish I could say the same about #7, the vocation getting more satisfying. It has been a long, hard, frustrating grind for me but it has allowed me to join with Michael in the other nine. It may be that given a pleasurable and satisfying vocation, I might not have progressed in the other nine and I would consider that a tragedy and waste of life. I think it possible that Jesus also viewed his first thirty-some years as a long, hard, frustrating grind. I still have hope of finding my niche but I’m not holding my breath, and the other nine more than make up for it. Wouldn’t change a thing if I could go back because it might change where I find myself now along the Way.

    To my mind, the whole thing turns on whether or not you can look back and see growth. Not compared to others but to yourself. To me, that is the whole point.

  5. Like Charles, I’m also in step with Michael at every point other than #7. At that point I now have to say “my vocations…” since I have come (with age and experience) to the realization that “vocation” is not a single unitary thing. I now realize that I am a complex individual who has several spirit-led callings to pursue in life, both simultaneously and sequentially. Which means that – yes – things are more complicate now than when I was younger; but also my “vocations” are more satisfying now than back in the day when I saw myself as just “a pastor”… I can do several unrelated things at once, all with a sense of godly leading and blessing. And without any vocational guilt.

  6. Dave D. says:

    I really like the idea of an efficient theology — and the way Michael defines that. How many degrees of separation between this dogma and Jesus? That might be a useful rule of thumb type of question.