My wife and I have been in closer contact with someone who grew up in a Christian home and has made a profession of faith, but is currently exploring the teachings of other religions. My wife and I also disagree somewhat about the seriousness of this. She feels the exploration is healthy; I am worried about this person (a) spending too much time on this in comparison to time reading the Bible or devotional material and/or (b) drifting from the faith altogether.
I don’t mind if a person wants to look at the other options. It’s certainly foundational to any training in apologetics or even informal talks with people who have a different perspective. I would even go so far as to say that if you’re reading this blog, and you’ve spent your whole life in the Christian bubble, you might want to read up on what other faith systems believe and teach.
Rather, I’m concerned more because of I see this very much energizing the person in question. We all have hobbies and interests — some short term and others longer — but what matters to me is what causes a person’s eyes to light up. While I will admit to a lifetime of failings in this regard, Jesus should be that which generates our greatest passion.
What consumes you? Here are some questions we’ve run a few times on the blog, though not lately:
- What’s the first thing you think about when you get up in the morning?
- What do you talk about when it’s your chance to control the conversation?
- What things have become the object your discretionary spending?
- If you could save one or two things before your house burned down, what would those things be?
- What do you want your life to be remembered for?
While this list is incomplete, it helps us to pinpoint the things that matter to us.
I’m generally not a big user of The Four Spiritual Laws approach, but I’m always aware of one particular image from the booklet. The dots in the diagram below represent our various hobbies and interests. In the previous panel to the one below they are somewhat random and different sizes and shapes, but when Christ takes control (i.e. on ‘the throne of our life’) the interests are ‘in harmony.’
I don’t agree that these interests are all of equal size necessarily — after all these years of blogging I still think I love music more than I love writing — but I like the idea of balance, and the idea of these things subject to Christ’s control.
We are very much defined by our passions, our position and our possessions. I think there’s a difference between an interest in something beyond the realm of Christian activity, and an unhealthy obsession about it.
Each one of us is, at any one moment in time, moving closer to the cross or moving away from the cross. I guess I’m erring on the side of caution because I don’t like to see what looks like someone moving further from the cross.
Read more here at Thinking Out Loud
- March, 2011 Conversations
- December, 2013 Knowing the Whole Person
- June, 2010 Why It’s Hard to Love Jesus
- December, 2014 Things That Manifest Themselves in Our Life