By Richard J. Goossen and R. Paul Stevens (2013):
“Note the significant dimensions of Christian spirituality.
- First, it starts with the initiative of a loving God who is seeking a relationship with his creatures.
- Second, spirituality then is not our attempt to ascend to God by spiritual practices or to discover our own internal divinity, but takes the form of ‘recognition and response.’
- Third, the result of this responsiveness to seeking God is not that we become angels or religious persons, but more fully human….
- Fourth, spirituality then is not a once-for-all event but a continuous process that is concrete but never finished.
- Fifth, the practical outworking of this spirituality is that we align ourselves with God’s intention for his creation, which is the kingdom or pervasive and life-bringing rule of God on earth. Creating wealth and bringing well-being to people is part of this….
- Finally, this spirituality is not cultivating extraordinary experiences but rather the infiltration of ordinary life with kingdom justice and holiness” (pp. 64, 65).
“Life, for biblical persons, is total and cannot be segmented into two parts: a disposable and normally evil shell (the body), and an indestructible spirit core (the soul). Thus the familiar psalm ‘Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name’ (Psalm 103:1) may be simply and helpfully translated “Praise the Lord, with my whole life!’” (pp. 65, 66).
“Most significant of all, the New Testament hope is not for the immortality of the soul–an essentially Greek concept that involves disparaging the body as a useless encumbrance to the life of the spirit. Instead, the great hope in Christ after death is the resurrection of the body–full personal and expressive life in a new heaven and a new earth” (p. 66).
“When we receive Christ, we get saved, not just our souls in the Greek sense. This is a two-stage process. First, our souls, our inner and longing persons, are substantially saved by being inundated by God’s Spirit, thus giving us new bodily and personal life on earth. Second, after our death and when Christ comes again, we are given a new and perfect embodiment through the resurrection of our entire selves, bodies included” (p. 67).
- “First, it means you go to work as a whole person — not just mind or body, but all that inner yearning and expressiveness that links us with God….
- Second, as soul persons with capacity to relate to God, we are given ideas, visions and perspectives that can be implemented through entrepreneurial activity. These may be in the area of church life but also in family life and enterprises in the world….
- Third, our actual experiences of envisioning, inventing and implementing as entrepreneurs are an arena of spiritual growth….
- Fourth, being a soul person (and a whole person) means being relationally alive through love. We are most godlike in relationships….
- Finally, Christian spirituality and its recognition of a soul dimension to human life and work means that personal growth is not a human achievement (through disciplines and practices) but a response to the Spirit’s initiative….Christian spirituality is…God’s empowering presence calling human beings into dynamic relation and expressiveness” (pp. 68, 69).
The Workplace is the Primary Place for Spiritual Formation
“The marketplace is a location for spiritual formation in three ways.
- First, it is the place where we get revealed as persons. Our inside is revealed by what we do outside, bu the way we work, by our relationships with people, by the realities of how we go about doing day to day enterprise….
- Second, the seven deadly sins, seven soul-sapping struggles that include pride, greed, lust, anger, envy, sloth, and gluttony, are revealed not in quiet times and prayer retreats but in the thick of life, in business meetings, as we struggle over this month’s sales, when we have to deal with an awkward customer or employee….
- But there is a third reason….The work we do, if it is good work, is some part of God’s own work in creating, sustaining, transforming or consummating (bringing things to a good conclusion). We are actually partners with God in our daily work” (pp. 70, 71).