Turning the other cheek by Peter Rollins

September 25, 2018

Grace Conspiracy

Peter Rollins has word processed a fan-tab-u-lous book titled The Orthodox Heretic and other impossible tales (2009, Paraclete Press)

My favorite parable from the collection is about “turning the other cheek.” In pages 19-23, Rollins sets the scene.

We are standing and watching Jesus address a disorderly mob, gathered around him. There must be hundreds of people pushing in to hear his words, most of the audience is poor and hungry. The place is packed with the sick, the dispossessed, the widow, the orphan, all the ones without a voice and without hope.

We, the comfortable, watch as Jesus stands before them, offering words of blessing…

upon the poor in spirit,

for those who are mourning,

for those who are meek,

for those who are merciful despite their hardships,

those who pure in spirit,

and upon those who seek peace rather than war

Jesus is challenging these struggling ones, “Love…

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Hello world!

January 16, 2010

This is the beginning of a blog that I intend to focus on Christian spiritual formation.  I have found that when people ask me what subject I taught in seminary, and I tell them “Spiritual Formation”, they get a distant look in their eyes, and then they ask, “What is that?”  As a result, I have learned that for many people with backgrounds in evangelical churches, e.g. Baptist, Church of Christ, Christian Church, etc., the term “spiritual formation” is totally foreign to them.  In fact, one student from a Southern Baptist church told me, “If I were to go back to my home church and tell them I’m taking a course in spiritual formation, they wouldn’t have a clue what I’m talking about.”

It doesn’t matter how intensely people may have been involved in their church’s programs and activities because the language of spiritual formation is not part of their faith tradition.  Interestingly, although the United Methodist Church has been a leader among Protestant churches in developing programs in spiritual formation, many members of Methodist churches are unfamiliar with what spiritual formation means.  They may have heard the term spoken of in their church, but they don’t really understand what it is.  So I want to begin by explaining some of the basics of spiritual formation and showing biblical support for the whole idea of spiritual formation and the importance of engaging in it.  I don’t know how often I’ll be able to make posts, but I’ll try for at least once or twice a week.

To begin with a basic definition, spiritual formation is the process by which God, by means of the Holy Spirit, transforms human beings into the likeness of Jesus Christ so that they can love and serve God.  God’s intention for every person is that they come to know God the Father through their acceptance of the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross and that they become like Christ through the power of God’s Holy Spirit at work within them.