From my journal

July 3, 2007

I don’t usually provide my personal journal entries in this forum, but I thought this entry might be helpful in some ways for some others.

I’ve been reading James Fowler’s Faith Development & Pastoral Care.  It has really provided me with some great new insights.

I think Fowler has helped me, in one of the early chapters, come to terms a little better with what he calls God’s “governing” activity- better known as the “wrath of God.”  Simply put, he defines it as MLK’s quote: “the arc of history bends towards justice.”  🙂

He has also given me a fresh perspective on where I am right now – in the midst of a new beginning.  I have finished a long bout in what he calls “the neutral zone” – akin to the 40 years of wondering in the wilderness by the Israeltes – where I have spent time listening and gathering strength, and reflecting on my journey thus far.

In so doing, as Fowler puts it, I discovered what young sailors learn early when learning how to steer a large ship – there are two ways to do it:  1) look for a point on the horizon and aim for it; and 2) look at the wake of the ship at steer by it.

In determining my vocation, calling, and course, it has not always been clear where I should aim – there have been multiple points on the horizon to aim for, if I could see the horizon at all.  But using this metaphor I now realize that looking at the wake has almost always yielded a clear picture of my course.

“God affirms and wants for us our deepest longings and desires to be fulfilled.”

Steering from the wake allows us to partner with God to see how we can achieve them, working into our vocation and the fullest extent of our created identity.

Now I’m into the promised land – a year into it.  As the israelites found out, it isn’t all easy.  Sometimes life in the wilderness – where manna fell from heaven and there were no occupied lands to conquer – were far tamer by comparison.  But they trusted by looking back instead of forward – looking back to the covenant at Sinai instead of the uncertanties ahead – and they perservered.  And God was with them, and God loved them, even when they stumbled.

j

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One Response to “From my journal”


  1. […] 9th, 2007 As I wrote a week or so ago (here and here), I am a huge fan of James Fowler.  In reading Faith Development and Pastoral Care, it occurred to […]


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