First I must ask is Jesus lost? Is there any place He might need to go that He would require a satnav system for? Or, is He hiding and hard to find?
Yet it seems that many feel He may well be lost. Somehow this earth daily fills with more spiritual satnav that Jesus may be found. The end goal of such is to find 'transformation'.
Jesus is easy to find, He is not hiding. He is still in heaven (although I suspect He may have His bags packed).
As many as there are stars in the sky, there are Christian 'stars' on earth who author guides helping me to engage the living Jesus. He who set the earth on its axis and flung stars into space can be found through 'their sequential formulae'. Their intentions are pure.
I am weary of these guides.
Each path to 'transformation' suffers its own nuance. Jesus is found in relationships. Jesus is found in the collectives of His followers. His presence is upon all my conversations and engages me through my obedience. He especially can be found in my service, or even as I once heard -- Jesus can be found at the garbage tip. (I thought that 'tip' was 'garbage'.)
But ... I have endured many a conversation where I 'missed' Jesus, never saw Him turn up at meetings (dis-unity is a good guide there) and my dis-obedience sure hindered His presence. If it was up to my obedience to be transformed -- WOE IS ME!
From their spiritual satnav God then is expected to drip delicious spiritual snacks to nourish my soul and give me a missional heart that also will not rest until it finds a transformational church. The Passion of Calvary can then seep deep into my soul and my world weary heart as it draws heaven-inspired tears for the lost, the least, the last and the lonely from me.
I have by now been educated well beyond my ability to obey. Guilt ridden, I fossick through these guides for that elusive 'gold'. It is the un-defined treasure that assuages my guilt and and will finally usher me into a transformational relationship with He who gives the the earth's axis its tilt. This is the Jesus that the 'transformational gurus' know, and I feel so guilty that I don't.
The Jesus of Forever is now found in pursuing their correct tele-imported messages from heaven, guarded by the fervour of evangelical theological accuracy.
BUT everytime I encounter this Christian 'pop-psychology', overly sub-texted with Biblical footnotes of further evangelical acumen, I am immediately confronted with my failure and an exponential addition of fresh guilt. For my heart knows, I don't know what these gurus know and and my mind knows I can't do what they suggest.
I am weary yet again.
The doyen of Christianity at least since B.B.Warfiled (but I suspect really John Calvin and Martin Luther) has been the 'a-priori' position of 'correct theology'.
The Throne of grace is only approached through correct theology and then alone can my transformation arrive. Yet correct theology is managed simply by the mind and mediated by these Christian 'gurus' of wild popularity and articulate prose. No 'room at the inn' for the Spirt of Truth here. In fact theology has become the arbiter of truth when it cannot be the guarantor of truth (let alone my personal transformation.)
I want to know Jesus. I want to walk His highway of righteousness. I want to live His grace and I want to love as He does. Desperately (even more than I want life) I want ot hear from His Throne 'well done good faithful and servant'. I WANT transformation.
The lament that has permeated my years and punctuated my calendar is that contemporary formulaic believism just doesn't work.
Transformation has not been brought to my soul, by saying more prayers, attending more church or attempting more soul destroying evangelism. Transformation has not been brought by saying thanks for my suffering, learning contentment and seeking to rejoice. (I supect that these are the fruits of transformation and not the causes.)
The terrifying notion that 'spiritual transformation requires our involvement and effort'* assaults a guilt-ridden soul afresh as simply more steps I have learned that I can't do. 'Strivings assail the spirit of man, they do not strengthen it.'
I am even wearier.
A quick canvas through the halls of time may yield some more satisfying (at least for my soul) fodder and some deft transformational answers.
How have the men that made history been transformed?
- Jacob was transformed at the river Jabbok.
- Moses was transformed at the burning bush.
- Paul was transformed on a dusty ancient near eastern road and far more recently,
- Hudson Taylor was transformed on a Norfolk beach one sunday morning.
The Psalmist (and the minor prophets) make it so direct and clear for the troubled soul seeking transformation, that it is in stillness I meet God. (Ps 46:10a)
" ... be still and know that I am God."
It is in stillness that I will meet God and I will hear Jesus. It is in solitude His grace will wash my person and I feel His heartbeat.
When the guiding gurus, the tips of theology and the satnavs of Christian psychology are truly absent then I am available for transformation; otherwise I simply have a '3rd party faith'.
I believe it was Rick Warren who said we are 'human beings - not human doings'.
Transformation is not found in 'doing' but in 'being'.
Transformation is not found by the hands but by the heart.
So where is transformation found? It is found in the wilderness.
*P7 "Conversations' Vol 7.2 Fall/Winter 09 - Pub = Richmont Graduate University 2009