I have a fascination with tools or models that help explain or help one understand personality types, such as the Enneagram. I am sure this will be a surprise to one and all but I have never read a whole book on this but love to think I understand it all and could help anyone to grasp what it is all about. Of course if I did succeed to read a while book on it I might even understand what the last sentence reveals about me… But who has time to do that when life is there to be lived? And so I move on before having to acknowledge that I have plenty of time for what does interest me even if it has little value beyond my own self interests. (Note to self: move on really quickly, no vulnerability please.)
Although I can see that from beginning to end there is not a straight line I am very happy to interpret my journey through life as clear and straight. ‘I was doing this in response to what God was saying which led me to do that which totally explains what I am doing now’. The consistency on it all being my absolute understanding at any moment of what God is requiring and my total and unreserved correct response at any given time. (I do write a little tongue in cheek, or at least I hope I am!)
Interpretation is really my point. How we interpret the world and our part in it. And any interpretation is also connected to personality. There are those who live with regret as they look back. That must be tough and I can understand that response. I am grateful for every fresh start and the incredible commitment of God to enter or world where we are. I do not tend to live with regret. It’s over and I have moved on.
For any regular reader of this blog it is no surprise that Gayle and I are off to Madrid this weekend. The city is important and the event, the march for change, is important to us. Our spirits are high. I compare the anticipation I have to the early Marches for Jesus, and some of the responses akin to the 94 and beyond days. So in responding to what that level of anticipation is it all about there are some possibilities.
- It is exactly as I see it. A simple straight line, highlighting yet again my impeccable response to God.
- I am more a child of the enlightenment than I want to admit and I too easily bow at the feet of the naïve idealism of progress.
- My restorationist / sectist roots mean I have to see myself at the centre of what God is doing.
- My personality is too optimistic to accept what is happening as not positive.
- I see God as so big that there are no real setbacks so this has to be an answer to prayer.
- Maybe none of or even all of the above.
Even when I analyse the possibilities my personality will kick in. I do not respond with total objectivity. But two aspects I think are important:
a) I think it is important to seek to interpret even if at a later stage I revise my interpretation, but more importantly
b) I respond to what I believe God is requiring. I do that because a faith response is so important. I am not held accountable to what someone else believes, but to what I believe. There is a need to listen to others but my convictions must be my convictions.
Fear and faith
I see a lot of material that, for me, is based on a fear. (Again maybe partly a personality type response involved in that?) The world is pretty evil, Islam will rule the world, Syriza / Podemos is communist. Some fears are justified but it is not a good idea to set our boundaries by fear. Two people can actually set the same boundary as someone else – one can set it through faith: ‘I have faith to go to this point but not further’ / the other through fear. Faith means we carry something positive with us. Fear… not a good idea!
So actually I do see the current events in Europe positively. Positively does not mean pure and certainly does not mean without their challenges. I do see a ‘straightish’ line between March for Jesus, Toronto, the demise of the myth of the Christian nation and political changes. There are huge issues facing us but what if we are living in days of answered prayer? What if the space has opened up and now is the time to see it filled? What if the body of Christ gets engaged in the space? What if the body of Christ does not get engaged? What if some of those who are not carrying faith in Jesus in some aspects carry a wisdom and presence of God greater than we do?
Questions. There is territory (people have spoken of a ‘new landscape’) that is open before us all, and in particular in ‘secular, multi-faith, multi-cultural, post-Christendom’ Europe, there are opportunities to find places of engagement. Only a belief in a Gospel that simply gives a ticket to heaven would suggest non-involvement is the way forward.