Spiritual Matters

There is a strong tendency to suppose that there is no more reason to listen to one man than another in spiritual matters, because the subjects considered are notoriously incapable of proof. The proper conclusion to be drawn, however, is the precise opposite of this. It is because the subjects are incapable of proof that we need to avail ourselves of superior wisdom whenever we can find it.

D. Elton Trueblood, Philosophy of Religion

Engineering Spiritual Growth

One of the problems people encounter when they discover "spiritual growth," and first fully realize they are on a spiritual journey (is that) they start to think that they can direct it. They think if they go off to a monastery for a weekend retreat or take some classes in Zen meditation, or take up some Sufi dancing, or attend an EST workshop, then they’ll reach nirvana. Unfortunately, that is not the way it works. It works only when God is doing the directing. And people can get into a certain kind of trouble if they think they can do it on their own.

If you think you can plan your spiritual growth, it ain’t going to happen. I don’t mean to discount workshops or other forms of self-inquiry – they can be valuable. Do what you feel called to do, but also be prepared to accept that you don’t necessarily know what you’re going to learn. Be willing to be surprised by forces beyond your control, and realize that a major learning on the journey is the art of surrender.

M Scott Peck, Further Along the Road Less Traveled

My cultural preferences are God ordained

A young boy complains to his father that most of the church hymns are boring to him because they are so far behind the times. His father becomes angry and states that "the hymns are good enough for your grandfather and me, and they will serve you just as well." But the teenager says that not only are the tunes boring, but the words are meaningless ... the songs are just too old fashioned. Putting an end to the discussion, his father says to him, "Well, if you think you can write better hymns, then why don't you?" The son says that he will. He goes to his room and writes his first hymn.

The year was 1690, the teenager was Isaac Watts, and the hymn was "Behold the Glories of the Lamb." During the next few years he wrote other songs. "We're marching to Zion", "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross", and "Joy to the World" are among the almost 350 hymns he created. The lyrics were his own but sometimes the melodies were similar in origin to Luther's ... seized from the streets or from popular theatre.

Larry Norman, liner Notes to In Another Land