Saturday, 30 January 2010

Thriving Spiritual Redwoods

I found quite a helpful analogy here, comparing the life of a Christian to a Redwood:

Let’s look at a thriving spiritual redwood, a healthy and growing follower of Jesus. Every spiritual redwood is different from every other spiritual redwood, but they have some things in common:

1. When we see a thriving spiritual redwood, we don’t notice how important or rich or powerful it is, or how many of them there are, but how much affect they have on others. Thriving spiritual redwoods help others thrive. We notice them because of the effect they have on us and on their community.

2. Thriving spiritual redwoods are resistant to crises from within and without. They are sturdy, not because they are impervious or isolated, but because they are protected by their spiritual armour and strengthened by their heartwood. They develop their spiritual armour through practices of prayer and study and ministry, and their heartwood is Jesus Christ.

3. Thriving spiritual redwoods don’t hold up large structures of rules and roles, designed to create homogeneity and uniformity. Instead, they share a vision and values that create an umbrella of community life that shelters and protects a wide diversity of individual life.

4. Thriving spiritual redwoods are filled with the Holy Spirit. God is active in their everyday lives, because their relationship with Jesus is the center and source of everything they are. This extends to the way they worship and celebrate, to the way they budget and spend their money, to the way they vote.

5. Thriving spiritual redwoods don’t grow by themselves, nor do they live as individuals within a congregation of trees. Redwoods thrive in small groups —they grow and learn and are strengthened by intentional and regular relationships with a few. Those roots grow deep and intertwine, and the roots of the small groups intertwine with the roots of other small groups. It is the combined roots of the small groups that make up the forest.

6. Thriving spiritual redwoods search for living water wherever they can get it. They don’t limit the possibilities to certain preset parameters of tradition or habit, but are eager and experimental seekers of life.

7. Thriving spiritual redwoods regenerate and replicate constantly—not only through their own children, but also through their friends and acquaintances.

8. Thriving spiritual redwoods reflect and are rooted in their micro-culture. While they are fed by the streams of history and tradition that brought them there, their roots and their strongest support systems are in their own communities.

9. Thriving spiritual redwoods embrace change, but don’t sway from what is truly central for them— their love of God, their core values, their bedrock beliefs.

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