I often wonder how two people can belong to the same faith community, read the same biblical and theological literature, go to the same conferences, and have the same opportunities and very similar experiences, and yet turn out so different. One uses these opportunities and experience as a springboard to adventure out into the world and engage the world becomes an agent of transformation in the process. The other fears the world and seeks to protect him/her self from the world lest he/her be contaminated by the world. One takes the foundational truths he/she has received and digs deeper, explores new ground and is unafraid or threatened by people from other traditions and is willing to learn from them recognising that his/her understanding of the faith is far from complete; likewise, he/she rejoices in the new relationships that he/she enjoys with believers from many different faith traditions. The other takes the same foundational truths and turns it into a dogma that cannot be refined, he/she uses it as a weapon to fend off anyone who threatens his/her insecurity and builds barriers that cannot be breached lest his/her faith be contaminated by the heresy of people who don’t think exactly like him/her. One continually seeks after God and is open to new experiences of God and God’s Spirit, he/she is unafraid to be changed by such experiences and in the process is renewed in many areas of his/her life. While the other holds on to an experience of God in the distant past, setting that experience in cement as the norm that must not be breached, he/she is unable or unwilling to seek after the God of new and fresh expressions of faith, similarly he or she is reluctant to change lest his/her faith be compromised or tainted by new ways of seeing and experiencing God. Now, I recognise this what I have outlined is an overstatement, yet it is an overstatement that seeks to help us see the conflicting stances that are or may be taken as we seek to navigate the paradigm shift, which we as a Western people have experienced over the past forty years in transitioning the modern world into a post-everything world.
--- Which journey are we taking? Which response is our response?