Friday, September 12, 2014

Repost: Is Spiritual Growth "Limitless"?

As stated previously, I am attempting to post a weekly blog for the foreseeable future. Every other week these posts will be reposts. I had been a contributor on two different sites that have since closed or changed to no longer include blogs. I will be reposting pieces that had originally been featured on one of these two sites.  

This was originally posted March 25, 2011

I’m new to -blogging- and unsure of how to start.  Metamorpha has graciously agreed to allow me this venue for writing and sharing some thoughts and ideas.  I’m told that experiences in life and ministry are places to start blogging from.  So, here we go….

I am in my fourth year as a Resident Director at a Christian university.   I try to lead my staff on their journey of being transformed spiritually by synthesizing what I’ve learned about Spiritual Formation; giving them information and experiential ways of applying it.  I try to model an open, willing heart.  For our team-growth time (“Covenant Time”) we are going through Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning every other week, but what sparks me to write is the Hollywood movie we saw this past week, 

Without giving much away, the main character (Eddie) finds a drug that allows him to unlock his full potential and he puts himself on a path to positively influence the world.  My guys noticed some interesting ideas in the movie and we had a good conversation on the ride home.  First, a character tries to make a distinction between instant talent and a character “earned” and through years of work and tough choices.  Another interesting issue the movie raises is that of human identity.  Eddie makes two contradictory statements about who he -is-; at different times he speaks of who he is on and off the drug as if that is his core identity. 

Even in this culture, I think we all know that growth takes time and work; but I also think we wish it didn’t.  That’s why the preview entices us to enter into the fantasy world of Limitless for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  But, would it be wrong in the real world to “cheat” the growth process by augmenting who you are in a quick and easy way?   As Christians we can say that this seems to bypass the created order, but what if the drug was “natural”? What about the times when God heals or changes a person instantly?  Is there always a qualitative difference between quick-character and earned-character?  Growth is hard; on many levels my staff and I could relate to the contrast between the two versions of Eddie.  Is it mere laziness that stops us from character and spiritual development?

And who are we anyway?  Eddie says the lazy slob version of himself is who he is; it is the “observed I”, the core of who he is.  Later he refers to the augmented version of himself as “I”.  So who is he really?  Is he really smart and competent if he needs a drug to stay that way?  Presumably we will be better humans in heaven than we are now; the best versions of ourselves.  If that will be “I” who am I now?  Perhaps our “I” is in a constant state of flux. 
Who am I?  Who have I become?  How have I become I?  How am I continuing to become?  Am I continuing to be “I” or am I becoming another “I”?  Am I satisfied with the “I” that I am?

Are you?

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