Tuesday, February 14, 2006

10 Marks of a Healthy, Mature Christian



I am about to begin a project with Hope Chapel that asks the question:

What are 10 marks of a healthy, mature Christian?

This isn't a discipleship question per se, but a wholistic Christian question. That is, when you look around you and see a person whom you regard as healthy and mature, what is it about them that you notice, that you admire, what is it perhaps that has helped them become that way, a mature person?

Examples would include such things as: a healthy, mature Christian always has a good mother and father over them, even if it's not their biological parents, a mentor perhaps. A healthy, mature Christian always seeks to keep a (long-standing) close group of friends who keep them rigorously accountable. A healthy, mature Christian always has a teachable heart; is down-to-earth; is winsome; is generous-hearted; reads books outside their tradition; knows how to have fun and not take themselves too seriously; has healthy conflict-resolution habits; and so on.

The goal is to turn this into a bible study guide that groups would be able to work through. I confess I get rather excited about the project. Partly it's because it answers an old, nagging question, What kind of persons ought we to become? How can we help each other practically speaking become that kind of person? What vision do we put before our brothers and sisters in Christ for them to behold and to aspire towards?

I see too many Christians circling on the merrygoround of their same issues, same bad habits, and it seems to me that something is wrong, awfully wrong--with us, with the system, with our spiritualities--if people don't experience any kind of significant growth or freedom five, ten years down the line.

So I've presented this project to the leaders of Hope Chapel in the hopes that together, over the course of the next 6-8 months, we'll be able to put together a booklet that would include a 1-2 page reflection, a set of Scriptures, a series of group discussion questions, and a few application exercises (a la Richard Foster's Devotional Classics). So we'll see.

As always, if you have any suggestions, my ears are wide open.
(PICTURE: Michael Ortiz, "Kobold in the Sun," watercolor, inspired by C. S. Lewis' novel Till We Have Faces, 2005 HopeArts Festival art exhibit. Click on pic for larger version.)

1 comment:

s. e. wedelich said...

david...
that sounds fantastic! the student ministry i work with is going through the renovare (richard foster) spiritual formation workbook. i think it comes in order before the devotional classics, but it's a great resource if you haven't seen it. (small, yellow cover)
it's really balanced and holistic.

also, i read a book last year called "a hidden wholeness" by parker palmer.. the first half was the best part to me, but it dealt with something i consider to be a mark of a healthy, mature christian: control of the tongue. mostly, he's dealing with our various approaches to giving advice, and self discovery within community, but i found it to be challenging to my perspective and it helped me to be more aware of others when i speak.

i can't wait to see what you all come up with. of all the churches i've been a part of, i still feel like hope chapel was the most balanced and healthy community and i still have such high regard for all that you guys do. i think writing this will actually be an honest expression from the body there, instead of a formulaic, catch-all answer book that appeals to the self-help oriented christian. it's encouraging.

-s. wedelich