I Am the Problem

In the early 1900’s, the Times Newspaper asked the following question of their readership: What’s Wrong With the World. Purportedly, G.K.Chesterton answered the question in a letter of response which simply said:

“Dear Sir,Burning Hearts

I am.

Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”

Wonderful insight! Wonderfully Chesterton (if he didn’t say this, it is certainly something he would have said). Disruptive: counter intuitive!! Rarely, do we/I indict the ‘self’ when assessing problems. Too bad. Such lack of ‘self-awareness’ enables us to perpetuate the problems identified.

I suspect Chesterton is correct: I am the problem. I find freedom in his conclusion. A freedom that ignites and encourages what I call ‘soul discovery’; the inner desires that animate my life. This freedom releases me to ask more meaningful and enriching questions. Questions that invite me to deeper more prominent place of desire, such as:

“In what way, or how, am I the problem?”  Or,

“How does ‘self’ serve as a consistent and persistent obstacle in Spiritual Formation?”

Words from one of St. Augustine’s (a disruptive voice in his day) well-known prayers (from his classic, Confessions) might ignite our imaginations:

“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you.”

Aha! In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created.  I love wrongly. It’s not that loving is wrong.   Desire (love) is a God-given and beautiful gift.  Giving and receiving love is unavoidable.  In fact, the desire to give and receive love is at the core of what it means to be human; truly, deeply and wonderfully human. I often envision the human heart as a canyon of relentless yearning; aflame with hunger, ignited by desire.

TREE OF LIFE FRACTURED HEARTThe problem, rather, is that our desires have become distorted. They are as James K.A. Smith says, ‘misaligned.’ As such, we seek to satisfy our hunger through created wonder and beauty that leave us hungering for more. The wonder and beauty of which I speak may well be good and noble; created by God for our enjoyment.  These would include such joys as work, family, home and rest.  These gifts are wonderful; designed for our enjoyment!

As Augustine said so well, in my distortion (unloveliness) I plunge into the lovely things which God created. As I plunge I deplete. I extract from them that which they can never provide. As such, I remain forever and always hungry. Worse yet, as I thrust my hunger upon the object of my affection, I distort its inherent beauty. In other words, as I enjoy, I consume. I ravage its beauty in the hopes of medicating the screaming emptiness of my soul.

What then?

I discover I am the problem!  That my ‘plunge’ into these wonders fail to fill the cavernous yearnings of my wounded, restless heart and misaligned heart.

What then?

Stay tuned as we together discover how spiritual formation disrupt distorted desires and reignite desire aflame for God.

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Disrupting to Renovate,

Biz

Welcome to Disruptus Renovatus

In his novel, The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare, by G.K. Chesterton, the Professor is attempting to describe something. Or, rather, someone. It is the man named Sunday. He is more than a man; he an experience. Confused, the professor states, “I think something,” he said, “that I cannot say clearly. Or, rather, I think something that I cannot even think clearly. But it is something like this…”

The professor’s words capture my sentiments as they pertain to Spiritual Formation: I think something that I cannot even think clearly. Dave Johnson, in his excellent article Can Change Really Happen? The Dangerous Hope Behind the Question We’re Afraid to Answer acknowledges the difficulty of describing and experiencing something that is, it seems, so far beyond one’s grasp. Johnson identifies Spiritual Formation as ‘the hope of becoming more attuned to God’s work in and around us, the hope of shedding bad habits and self-serving attitudes.’ Indeed. Spiritual Formation is easy to ‘talk’ about but quite difficult to fully describe in a meaningful and fully experiential way.

This blog, Disruptus Renovatus, is my attempt to describe that which I confess is nearly beyond description. In some ways, Disruptive Renovatus captures my personal journey into the Disruptive hope that Renewal has brought and continues to bring. An exploration; discovery if you will. The discovery of that deeply wonderful and fully mystical journey of an ongoing and ever increasing union with Christ.  This initial post is designed to expose you to the title of the blog and the context from which it has arisen.  Lastly, I will invite you to journey with me/us down this path of experiencing Christ in an a disruptively new life giving way!

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Each word in the title of this blog is a transliteration of old English/Latin terms.  I have intentionally used  the past participial form of the terms to emphasize their adjectival capacity.  In other words, they are used as an attempt to ‘describe a life’ of Spiritual formation. The terms, used together, accentuate a cherished belief: lasting change requires disruption.  I find this to be particularly true when speaking of deep inner change associated with Spiritual Formation.

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The discoveries, practices and experiences explored through this blog are all birthed in and emerge from the dear people with whom I am privileged to share my life. This journey begins with my wife. My bride, Melissa. She is the greatest and most enduring testimony to all that is real as well as all that is contrived in my life. Her life with God has stirred my passions and desires to live my life with God in ever increasing and vital ways.

My dear children; JB, Luke and Hayla. These three serve as both glaring and loving mirrors of my own image. They have endured much under my leadership. They have been challenged, defeated and encouraged in ways that are unimaginable to most. My lack of ‘life with God’ in my early years of fatherhood has been instrumental in this journey I am on today. They would be the first to convey how deeply and wonderfully their father has changed and how vastly and greatly is the need for him to continue to do so.

My church. Yes. None of this journey would have been possible apart from the faithful, loving and wonderful community of believers God has joined together. We call this community Pillar Community Church. I love this community. Though they are not my biological family, they are indeed and deeply family to me. In fact, they are my family’s family. As you experience Disruptus Renovatus- and if you take this journey with me – it is crucial for you to understand the potency of Pillar Community Church. Indeed much of what I relay here has been birthed in the life of Pillar, has emerged from my life with Pillar, is developed by my life through Pillar. The presence of Pillar with and in me is the presence of God’s grace and mercy over and through me.

To my bride, children and dear church family, this is for you, from you and because of you.  I give you thanks.  To everyone else.  Each of you who sense that it is past time for some Disruptus Renovatus: Welcome aboard!

Biz