Saturday, April 21, 2018

Do Not Be Tempted By the Shallow Waters of Relevance

Image result for john piippo water

I have some 3X5 cards on my home office desk, next to my computer screen. On these cards are things God has said to me. I keep these messages before me.

One card reads: "Do not be tempted by the shallow waters of relevance. Keep going deeper." (December 19, 2016)

I'm not. And, I am.

One of my spiritually deep mentors is Howard Thurman. He has been a significant influence on my life. I remember, in 1982-1984, praying through A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants (the best spiritual-devotional guide ever for pastors and Christian leaders). That's where I met Thurman. I wondered, "Who is this deep person I've never heard of before?"

One influence on Thurman's spiritual life was theologian George Cross. Regarding Cross, Thurman writes: "Everything about me was alive when I came into his presence. He was all stimulus and I was all response." (Luther Smith, Howard Thurman: The Mystic as Prophet, p. 22)

Just before Thurman graduated from seminary Cross said to him:

"All social questions are temporary questions. They are part of the total growth of the race to maturity. If a man's energy goes into social problems, when that is no longer relevant his work is done. You, Howard Thurman, should address yourself to the timeless hunger of the human spirit. Doing so, your greatest capacities will be released." (Ib., 29, emphasis mine)

Keep addressing yourself to the timeless hunger of the human spirit. 

Though the world be shallow, keep going deeper. 

Pastors, take your people deeper. 

That's it for me, too. Because the deeper we go in the human heart, the more we are all the same.


I'm working on #s 3 and 4 - hopefully out in 2019:

How God Changes the Human Heart (A Phenomenology of Spiritual Transformation)

Technology and Spiritual Formation