Tag Archives: Spirituality

Animate: Week 4

Salvation | Abundant Life Now • Shane Hipps
The cross of Christ stands as a symbol of God’s saving work. But what, exactly, does it mean to be saved? From what? For what? Is salvation a reward we claim at death or something meant to change our lives right now? For Shane Hipps, these are the questions we need to answer if we are to truly receive the release that comes with salvation in the here and now.

I’m grateful for all of you and our wonderful conversation this morning. In case you wanted to see the information about Hellbound?, you can find out more information on their website here, and you can watch the movie trailer below. I’m planning on taking the College Group to the showing on October 17th and staying for the Q&A afterwards.

It was wonderful to hear your thoughts on salvation this morning. It’s definitely something that can stir up a lot of thoughts (both good and bad) for people, and so I appreciated your willingness to share them.

I think for me, a lot of what Shane talked about in terms of salvation being in the HERE and NOW as opposed to being something we just think about for later or then…a lot of that plays in very nicely with this idea of being saved versus saved as a one-time decision.

And for many of us, we can probably relate to both of those two ideas co-existing in our own spiritual lives. For me, I can look back on a moment (or perhaps two) where I think I might have been able to say, I experienced “salvation” or “I was saved.” But it certainly wasn’t a one-time deal for me. There were continually moments, sign posts along the journey, where I’ve had more and more of those moments, where it really does become a process, a journey, of salvation.

One thing I like to do sometimes, is to do a Google search for a word, but look at the Image results. I just did that with “salvation” – there are about 69,200,000 images results: here are a few of the ones that came up in the top 30 results.

This is kind of a typical understanding of “salvation” I think. Probably one that many of us don’t really connect with. We’re on one side of a chasm, and the only way to get over to the other side and be “saved” is by accepting/receiving Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior…after that, everything is okay – because we’re on the “right side” of the chasm.

This one is for a kid’s curriculum, and is the “list of things” that need to happen for a child before they can be baptized…wow! That’s a lot of pressure for a child to have to have faith, believe, pray, repent and confess…all before they’re able to baptized…obviously, a much different understanding of baptism than we have in the Presbyterian church. So, I’m not sure if for these people you must get to “baptism” before they would say you’re fully “saved” or not, but…again, an interesting take on salvation.

This image connects with me a bit better – and seems to be more like what Shane was talking about, especially in terms of the idea of a rope becoming undone, or something inside us being “loosened.” I can imagine Shane doing this after his conversation and prayer with his father from his story. It appears that this person is ready to receive something…maybe that is salvation, putting ourselves in places and postures ready to receive God’s blessings and gifts?

I like this one the best. It really does portray to me the idea of the journey – of setting out on a quest…

Which image do you connect with? Do your own Google Search, and post a link to a photo that speaks to you or resonates with you when you think about salvation.

In the end, I wonder how we would all answer that question from the end of the video. If the 25,500 days are really the entree, and not the appetizer, if we can experience the kingdom of God and salvation in the here and now…and not wait for the afterlife (whatever that might be)…how does that change the way we live? How does that change the way we treat others? How does that change the way we look at our lives, the ways we encounter God? Does it?



“A Conversation about Prayer” by Dianna Warner

This past Sunday in worship, in lieu of a traditional sermon, we were blessed with an original piece of reader’s theater written by Dianna Warner. Everyone involved (children, young adults and adults) did a wonderful job, and we wanted to at least share the text with those of you who weren’t able to be there. Many thanks to Dianna and all those involved.

A Conversation about Prayer

Beginning: One Verse of “Oh Lord Hear My Prayer” (a Taize piece)

Voice One: Why do we Pray, when do we pray, How do we pray? The writer of James tells us in Chapter 5:13 – 18 – Are any among you suffering? They should pray.

Voice Two: “Help me, help me, help me!”

Voice One: Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.

Child’s Voice: “Dear God, thank You for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy.”

Voice One: Anne Lamott says:

Voice Two: Here are the two best prayers I know: ‘Help me, help me, help me’ and ‘Thank you, thank you…’ I have a friend whose morning prayer each day is

Katie: “Whatever,”

Voice Two: and whose evening prayer is

Katie: “Oh, well.”

Voice One: James continues in verse 14: Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. In Prayers from the Heart by Richard Foster, he speaks this healing prayer:

John: “Lord Jesus Christ, when I read the gospel stories I am touched by your healing power. You healed sick bodies to be sure, but you did so much more. You healed the spirit and the deep inner Mind. Most of all I am touched by your actions of acceptance that spoke healing into those who lived on the margins of life-shoved aside by the strong and the powerful. Speak your healing into me, Lord -body mind and soul. Most of all, heal my sense of worthlessness. My head tells me that I am of infinite value to you but my heart cannot believe it. Heal my heart, Jesus, heal my heart.”

Voice One: The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.

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Animate: Week 2

Religion | Spirituality Is Not Enough • Lillian Daniel
What does it mean to be spiritual? Is it the same as being religious? Lillian Daniel pushes back at this question that has been stirring up the cultural conversation for a while now. She asks us to consider how the seeds of faith to take root and thrive. What role does organized religion play in helping—or hindering—growth? If religion is the problem, why has it held fast for thousands of years? In this age of religious pluralism, is it possible or even desirable to stick with our age-old traditions?

Thanks for a great conversation last week at our Animate Adult Education Class. I’ve been gone this week at a retreat, so just now getting to put up a short post. As I was thinking about our conversation on what religion is, what spirituality is, etc., a few things came to mind:

  1. Sarah, who is getting her PhD in Christian Spirituality has defined spirituality as such: “Spirituality is the reception of, and response to, the Spirit (understood to be God at work in this world).”
  2. The video below went viral on YouTube about a year ago, and currently has over 22 million views. It’s an interesting take on our question – someone who says that he hates religion, but loves Jesus. You might be interested in watching it. For many people, it’s very easy to separate the two. There are a series of books written by an emerging church pastor, Dan Kimball, and one of them is titled: “They Like Jesus but Not the Church.”

I’m interested in seeing if anyone else is comfortable sharing where they placed themselves in that drawing between the religious side and the spiritual side?

One of the questions we didn’t get to was where you would place Jesus on that same drawing. Where do you think Jesus fit if you had to place him between “religious” and “spiritual”?

As I shared during the conversation, I don’t have as many pleasant thoughts about tradition, like Lillian does. I do think that we need to be thinking beyond our own individual selves, I think it does mean something that we believe in something bigger than ourselves. But I think our tradition, and our traditions, have really screwed a lot of things up. We’ve hurt a lot of people. Our opinions, and beliefs, and theologies and doctrines…which have all been a part of our tradition, have caused scores of people to leave the church and not want to have anything to do with God.

So…I think that’s an issue. We are the church reformed and always reforming. I think that Presbyterians spend a bit too much time on the “reformed” side, and not enough on the “always reforming” side.

Anyway – would love to hear some of your thoughts, what have you been thinking about this past week? What questions still linger for you?