Monday, November 01, 2010

Churches Hitting Bottom

In Isaiah we read that God could best use Israel when it was in its most weakened state. The cross reveals that this is how God works, transforming weakness into power. In the recovery subculture we hear about the potential that is unleashed when a person "finally hits bottom". The painter Matisse would look at his painting after completing a stage of the work and look for the weakness in it. He would then deliberately reengage the work through that weakness and reconceive the painting.

Many of our congregations are in weakened conditions, some acutely so. Does this make them even better suited to receive the Spirit than before when they were strong and vibrant? The psychology and spirituality of hitting bottom, of being weak and vulnerable, can give hope. At that point, transformation is possible if one has learned to no longer trust themselves but instead looks beyond themselves for strength and direction. Will the weakened congregations turn their trust from the old familiar ways to trust in the Spirit, who then may breathe new life into them and have even greater things in store for them to do?

(excerpt from Psyche and Spirit)

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