I was only a few chapters into the book when controversy erupted in the blogging world, perhaps not on the level of the controversy recently created by Rob Bell and Love Wins, but nonetheless, the parallels were there. Defenders of the faith, aghast that anyone would dare write something outside the realm of what they deemed appropriate spiritual writing, criticized the book severely for what they deemed a number of heretical ideas. It felt like a spiritual witch-hunt, complete with burning torches and the mobs in frenzied agreement.
The claims? Mostly that Voskamp dares to use mystical language to talk about spiritual matters, that she speaks of relationship with God in sexual terms, and that she doesn't see God as holy enough. Perhaps even that she lessens the sacrifice of Jesus. Illustrations of being drawn to worship God under the light of a full moon are projected into criticisms of panentheism, despite her own insistence that nature is but a reflection.
I do not know Ann. I cannot know her heart fully. But what I can say is that having begun reading her blog I see a woman who is DEEPLY in love with a holy God. I see a woman who realizes that viewing God's holiness is not limited to words left for us from centuries ago, not limited to the confines of the church building, to heads bowed in prayer. God's holiness encompasses all creation. It lives and breathes through every moment of our days and if we but take the time to stop for a moment and look we can see the artist's signature written across the world.
I believe in Jehovah God who created the whirling galaxies, the birds soaring in the sky overhead, the endless crashing waves and all that dances within them. I believe in Father of all who knits together life, made in His very own image, in the secret quiet of our beings.
I believe in Jesus Christ, the One with no earthly Father, with the dust of this earth between His toes, and with our names etched onto the palm of His hands, right beneath the nail scars…Who now sits at the Father’s right hand making endless intercession on our behalf. I believe in the stone rolled away, in the Body being raised, in the first fruits of the dead…and us all following soon, very soon.
I believe in the Cross as our only Hope, our only Claim, and our only Foundation. I believe that in the pounding surf of life we have only one thing to cling to: the feet of our Lord, hanging on that tree, His lifeblood flowing down, washing us whiter than snow.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, moving, whispering, indwelling our very skin. I believe in living by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, and producing fruit in the Spirit…in the Spirit who helps us in our weakness with groanings that can’t be expressed in words.
|Photo by Ben Leto|
http://www.youthministry.org.nz/?sid=134 (Uses Corinne Ware's four quadrant approach to spiritual type)
http://www.msgr.ca/msgr-3/personalitytypeprayers.html (OK, that one's mostly for fun...although once you dig deeper into the site it has some excellent suggestions on types of prayers that flow most easily from your personality type as well as suggestions for areas in which each type may need to focus additional attention.)
So, what is my point? Simply this, each of us will approach our spiritual life in a different way. Some will approach it entirely from logic; eschewing all idea that feeling might have any validity in the spiritual walk. Some will rely entirely on feeling, trusting that what they experience is real. Neither one is entirely wrong. Nor is either one entirely right. Simply because we are predisposed to relate to the world, to our spiritual life, in a certain way does not mean we should not challenge ourselves to understand from a different perspective. Most descriptions of Myers-Briggs types will also include areas of weakness for each personality type that will require effort in order to become a more balanced person.
And if you are someone who dwells in the realm of mystery and metaphor, understand that not everyone will be able to understand that bent. Don't be quick to write off the ones who combine logic and scripture as hard-nosed, uncaring people whose only concern is using the Bible as a weapon. (And yes, I'm speaking to myself here.)
|photo by amanderson|
|photo by Elliott Brown|
|photo by Johan Hansson|