Defining a disciple is fairly easy, in my view. The greek word mathetes is the word that scripture uses for “disciple” and it means learner. In other words, disciples are people who LEARN to be like Jesus and learn to do what Jesus could do. One great writer on discipleship put it this way: Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if he were you.read more
In this short essay–Fruit of the Spirit by Gary Simpson–Simpson1 claims that there is only one fruit of the Spirit. That is love. Love is like a stem cell and takes on whatever form the recipient needs in the moment. This is the communal discernment that the Spirit empowers.
Green, Joel B. Lapsley Jacqueline E. Miles Rebekah Verhey Allen. Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2011. [↩]
Welker is the Director of the Research Center for International and Interdisciplinary Theology at the University of Heidelberg.
This book has had a significant impact on my research. The key ideas that I glean from Welker are that the Spirit is pluriform and polycentric. In other words, the Spirit takes on many different forms (pluriform) throughout the world, depending upon the place and situation. The Spirit, also, flows from many centers (polycentric), and thus cannot be contained or narrowly defined by one theological construct. The spirit is the field from which theological constructs flow.read more
Part of my research focuses on exploring the sense-making process of walking with the Spirit in community (specifically, how this works in the suburbs). Let me walk through the events and conversations of the last week in an effort to make some provisional sense from it for my own life, for my research, and for the life of the community of which I am a part.
Two Sundays ago I preached on the Third Way of Love. The path between a rock and a hard place, I proposed, is the path of Christ’s love. It is the kind of love that died on the cross to open up a third way between the two extremes. I used our church’s Holy Conversations as an example of being caught between a rock and a hard place. The Holy Conversations is a nine-month discernment process in which our Vision Board is deciding whether or not we will perform same-sex marriages in our church.read more