Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Spirituality Group

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Spirituality Group

I have been asked to lead a spirituality group at a psychiatric hospital two days a week. Yesterday was my first session. There are going to be many challenges to this kind of setting, some of which I will discuss in future blogs as I experience more group sessions.

Approaching the task and my first session yesterday, I was interested to see how the one stipulation I was given for the group session would play out. (Frankly, the hospital has no idea what they want or are looking for, they just know a spirituality group is important and they had one rule). That one rule was that I could not teach from a "denominational standpoint." I had to just lead the group from a "Christian perspective." I was more concerned about that stipulation than the few people I discussed the matter with, although I certainly understood the need for that rule. It is one thing, and an important thing, to help bring people around to an understanding of needing God in their life. It is quite another to move into any depth without crossing too far into interpretation from this group standpoint.

My concerns hit me straight between the eyes for as I began the session, I quickly discovered that I had with me a Jew, a Catholic, and a young lady who asked me this question: "Do I have to be baptized to be saved?" I was not so concerned with the Jewish presence because I was given the liberty to be Christian in my approach, plus he was very humble and willing to listen. However, both the Catholic and the young lady with the question of baptism were very vocal, in good ways, and were wanting to press deeper into the conversation of genuine salvation. I have three views before me now: 1)Works/Righteousness. 2)Believer's Baptism. 3)Necessity of baptism for salvation. That makes for a tough place when I can't really express my convictions on that issue based on the stipulation that I would be going too far into one set of beliefs. There is a reason I am a baptist. I am convinced that much of the baptist faith and doctrine is Scripturally sound. Do baptists have it all right? No. Do I have it all right? No. (And woe to you who think that your denomination or personal theology is perfect). Nevertheless, we move forward and teach based on our best understanding and interpretation of Scripture.

The flip side of this coin finds me thrilled to be in this situation. Reading blogs of a spiritual nature across the net, and I read a good deal of them, has brought to my attention the all-to-common tendency of Christian thinkers to fight over the details. We are proud of our position and find enjoyment in proving everyone else wrong, at times with a aura of arrogance. As I have said many times on the Lair, I think denominations are important and serve a healthy purpose, but not because they set us up for endless, bitter disagreement. Surely we should work on finding areas of agreement on which we can be unified for the cause of Christ rather than only labor for our position of transubstantiation, consubstantiation, sacramental union, or symbolic nature of the Lord's Supper. That is an important subject and we should write about it and have convictions about it, but not to the point of failing to find the common ground we have as brothers and sisters in Christ.

So, that is my challenge for the next good while. I am striving to not compromise my beliefs on matters of doctrine and Scripture, while at the same time work to find common ground where my brothers and sisters in the hospital can know and experience the love and power of Christ. May God be with us all.


Anonymous Agag said...

What an endeavor! I will be praying for you brother.

November 28, 2007 4:38 PM  
Blogger stephsorrell said...

Wow, what an opportunity! I will pray for you hard. I know you are equipped and God has prepared you for such a time as this. You are awesome and I find it to be a blessing just to know you.

November 30, 2007 6:28 PM  

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