It is spring (you can see I have been thinking about writing this for over a month) and my thoughts always turn to gardening, weather, having more time to be outside, and re-engaging with the neighbours. The cycle of the seasons is about change, new activities (at least in the northern hemisphere) and with the longer daylight it seems like there is more time to do things. But the regular activities of keeping up with family and friends, keeping fit, holiday time, outdoor activities like attending festivals, concerts, Bar-B-Q in the back yard and entertaining in our garden as well as having a few things to do that share the life and beliefs I have, are things that fill my time.
About two weeks ago I presided at a wedding for the daughter of a good friend of mine, and preparing for the celebration my thoughts turned to love and the spiritually of relationships. The couple does not have any connection to church but there is a spiritual awareness in their worldview. How do I tread that fine line of being appropriate and introducing the invitation to a deeper experience of life and love but not be preachy?
Love has been on my mind forever. Since I recently read The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian McLaren, I have been thinking about what he says concerning how the church of the future should look. He believes the church should be a school of love. “These churches would aim to take people at every age and ability level and help them become the most loving version of themselves possible…. If churches make…the way of love their highest aim, they will experience what Paul prayed for in his Epistle to the Ephesians: their members will be ‘…strengthened in (their) inner being with power through God’s Spirit so that Christ may dwell in (their) hearts through faith as (they) are being rooted and grounded in love.’ (Ephesians 3:16-17)” (p. 54, The Great Spiritual Migration)
I have always believed that a Christian education program at a church needs a curriculum. It’s ok to have a mish mash of courses, workshops and studies because people always learn when they participate. But to lead people to a deeper experience of God and life there needs to be visible path – a path with steps. I am wondering what the steps would be. What would go into a leadership, or discipleship course on love? So, help me out. Give me some suggestions what should be included in a course curriculum on love and spirituality.
I think it would need to begin with an introduction – Why is this course important and what is a definition of love?
Now I am reading a book (synchronicity) call Original Thinking by Glenn Aparicio Parry who suggests that rational thinking as we understand it, and how we use it to define what being human means is incomplete. Moderns think that we are human because of our rational thoughts. But Parry thinks we need to include intuition and our connection to nature in the definition of what makes us human. It is our connection to the universe that brings us the wisdom of the ages, but we have isolated thinking to the brain and have left out the heart. Parry says that an original thought is not a new thought, it is a thought that has been around as a possibility since the beginning of time, and when its time has come, it emerges. A course on love needs to include the wisdom of the head and the wisdom of the heart.
A course on love cannot be just a head course. It must also be an experiential course leading to action. It must include experiences, thoughts, feelings, intuitions. Love is both a noun and a verb.
For me this is not idle speculation, but a serious thought that I would like to challenge the church I attend to think about. I’d like to hear your thoughts.
Blessings for the summer.