“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” C.S. Lewis
The quote above is from C.S. Lewis’s work, “Mere Christianity”, if I recall correctly. A very useful quote to keep in one’s pocket, so to speak.
Over the past few months, you’ve more than likely noticed that I have been “dialing back” my posts a bit. As I said in a more recent post, I feel as if I am in the final stages of purging “bad” spiritual food that I’ve digested over the years.
Lately, maybe in the last three weeks or so, I’ve felt led to “go back” over some of the older things I used to do, study or listen to.
It’s a doubling back, of sorts. Retracing my steps, seeing if I left some stone unturned or if I took a wrong turn somewhere down the trail. Maybe I lost something along the way, a gem of wisdom or a nugget of good news that would help as I reorient myself. It’s like when you are out in the wild, topographic map and lensatic compass in hand and you are trying to find a specific trailhead that will take you on the rest of your journey. You are in familiar territory, but you aren’t quite in the spot you need to be. By all observation, you are close, but still… off somehow, somewhere. There were a few unfortunate turns as you tried to plot your azimuth and navigate your way to the trail head. After all, one or two degrees off on your compass and map can put you way off course, depending on how far you keep going.
So, you double-back to the last point you know what sure and true.
One quote that helps me “hold true” is this one by George MacDonald, from his sermon ‘The Truth In Jesus’ At the beginning of his sermon, he quotes Ephesians 4: 20 – 22, ‘But ye did not so learn Christ; if so be that ye heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus: that ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, which waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit.’ [Footnote: That is, ‘which is still going to ruin through the love of the lie.’]’. With this as his opening scripture, he goes on to say:
“How have we learned Christ? It ought to be a startling thought, that we may have learned him wrong. That must he far worse than not to have learned him at all: his place is occupied by a false Christ, hard to exorcise! The point is, whether we have learned Christ as he taught himself, or as men have taught him who thought they understood, but did not understand him. Do we think we know him–with notions fleshly, after low, mean human fancies and explanations, or do we indeed know him–after the spirit, in our measure as God knows him? The Christian religion, throughout its history, has been open to more corrupt misrepresentation than ever the Jewish could be, for as it is higher and wider, so must it yield larger scope to corruption:–have we learned Christ in false statements and corrupted lessons about him, or have we learned himself? Nay, true or false, is only our brain full of things concerning him, or does he dwell himself in our hearts, a learnt, and ever being learnt lesson, the power of our life?”
How indeed. As I’ve shared my journey here on LITQM, the questions I’ve had and grilling sacred cows barbeques I’ve invited you in on, I’ve put certain things out. I don’t want to have notions of Christ that are “fleshly, low, mean human fancies and explanations”. I simply want him. And in a way, I do feel that this doubling back is a Spirit-led thing. Not something to be bragged about, or to lift me higher than others, no, this is my way of acknowledging what is happening.
So, I’ve started this doubling back process by being a little more frequent in my fellowship time with the believers around me, specifically in gathering together in a home to eat, discuss our lives, read and discuss passages in the Bible, pray, have communion, etc. I am furthering the process by listening to some of the audio series that I found very encouraging and useful over the years which have come out of Ransomed Heart Ministries and more specifically from John Eldredge. At least, I feel led to “start” there.
So far, I’ve listened to “Major & Minor Themes”, a “discussion” between four or five of the men at Ransomed Heart Ministries as they discuss the role of the “Major” and “Minor” themes presented to us in the Gospels. The “Major Theme” being: life, resurrection, restoration, victory. The “Minor Theme” being: suffering, loss, death. The conversation is a pretty good one, it discusses how the Body of believers, specifically in the institutional church, have replaced the one theme for the other, making the “minor” theme the “major” and vice versa.
I’m currently finishing “The Life of Jesus”, which is basically the early stages and beginnings of John’s book, “Beautiful Outlaw”, which I reviewed last year, here on LITQM. There are some good things in this audio series. The stories and themes are presented differently and in a different order than the book, which I believe is a good thing, it’s not predictable that way. You can read the book and listen to the audio series and gain different things from them both.
It’s not that I have lost my hold on the truths presented in both of these audio series, rather, this is part of the reorientation process. Finding the landmarks, the immovable things on my “map”.
God is good. His heart is for us. Though suffering and hard times come, the Major Theme is Life, Restoration, Resurrection.
There are a few books I’d like to pour back over, too. Things I feel led to go back over. Specifically, “Waking The Dead”, “The Way of the Wild Heart” and “Wild at Heart”. However, as far as being led goes, I’m letting those come in their time.
How about you? Have you been doing some reorienting of your “map”? Have you done this before?