Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Introverts in the church - pt. 5

Some of the highlights I picked from ch. 4 of Introverts in the Church were:
  • p. 66 - "The healthy Christian is not necessarily the extrovert, ebullient Christian, but the Christian who has a sense of God's presence stamped deep on his soul, who trembles at God's word, who lets it dwell in him richly by constant meditation upon it, and who tests and reforms his life daily in response to it" (from J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life).
  • p. 67 - In reference to St. Benedict's role of the discipline of Grand Silence, "Words, rather than issuing from a well of reverence and wisdom, often betray ignorance and immaturity."
  • p. 70-71 - Interesting piece on the difference between 'apophatic spirituality' (the negative way) and 'kataphatic spirituality' (the positive). "...apophatic spirituality focuses on what cannot be grapsed about God through rational thought, words or images. It emphasizes the hiddenness of God. This is in contrast to kataphatic or positive spirituality, which is focused on what can be known about God. Kataphatic spirituality is grounded in revelation - the words, images and other means through which God has chosen to disclose himself in the Scriptures, the created world and the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Evangelical theology and practice almost exclusively favors the latter form of spirituality."
  • p. 71 - "Although we possess God's self-revelation in the Bible, God can never be encapsulated by words on a page or confined by precise doctrines. Words and tangible images are signs pointing to God, but they are not God himself. As useful and necessary as they are, they have a way of limiting or trying to control him... Contemplatives understand that God is a personal being whom we can relate to and experience, and if we wish to have a more profound expeince of God, it's not a matter of trying to think thoughts higher than previously considered but a matter of sensing God on a different level that transcends words and rational thought." (sounds a tad arrogant, but I don't think that's the intent)
  • p. 72 - "Contemplatives know that God's voice rarely comes in thunder but rather in a whisper, creeping into the lives of shepherds in isolated settings or to prophets gasping in thin mountain air."
  • p. 73 - "The Greek word for "energize" (energeo) appears frequently in the New Testament and often refers to the power of God in accomplishing great things beyond human abilities."
  • p. 73 - "Distance from distractions may form the contect in which we find solitude, but it is not the goal. The goal of solitude is encounter with God, and the outworking of that encounter is transformation."
  • p. 75 - "My internal chatter is so constant that it become difficult for me to discern the voice of God. My spiritual director encouraged me, then, to pause and invite God into those conversations. It's not that I need to silence the conversation that comes so natural to me; it's that I need to allow God to assume his place at the head of the table. This advice squares with the wisdom of the examen, which invokes the Holy Spirit to guide our reflections on the day that has happened. The examen trusts that God works in conjunction with our minds to reveal his movement in our lives."
  • p. 83 - "The goal of silence is not necessarily to hear the profound word from God, but simply to spend time with our Father - in which God may or may not speak."