I believe spiritual experience is as unique as any other personal experience. We experience the world through the lens of our minds, our culture, and our past experience. I think it makes sense to think that spiritual experiences will differ dramatically from one person to the other based on these factors. If an omnipotent God exists, whose Spirit flows through all things, it seems that experiencing it would be very similar to the human experience of the sun, i.e. it will appear very similar but would be interpreted very differently based on the environmental factors. The sun in the desert is viewed differently than the sun in the rainy Pacific Northwest. Typical human experience tells us different things about the sun. It may seem a life-giving force to some, or an oppressive burden to others. This analogy helps me understand why we cannot prove things about God through our contact with the Spirit. Before modern physics, the sun was an inscrutable force in the universe, no human experience could explain it properly, but its presence and effects were everywhere. Theology is no match for modern science in its explanatory power because it does not have experimental tools to rule out interpretations. Theologians rely on conventional interpretations of Scripture to guide them in nailing down what is the Truth of the matter, and the rest of experience is viewed through this lens.
Tag Archives: works and grace spirituality
Got Fruits? (if so, then what?)
In response to my last post an ex-Mormon, Evangelical teenager, Richard, come pretty strong and hard in expressing his reasoning from scripture that Mormons hate God and don’t understand him. He argued specifically that I was blind to the “Real” truth, qouting this scripture:
1 Corinthians 2:14 : But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
Kullervo (in his typical understated manner) responded to Richard and suggested that Richard’s approach was evidence that, according to Christianity, it didn’t seem that his religion was really inspired by The Spirit:
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance”
Now at this point in my spiritual quest it would be hard to classify me as either a Mormon or a traditional Christian by my partly because of my “lifestyle” and partly because of my eccentric theology but I think the idea that we can find out what is good by examining the fruit. Love, joy, peace, gentleness are things I that I can sink my teeth into. It’s experience rather than abstraction. Something that even atheists may understand. Real proof . . .
Of course the question is, is this an appropriate way of going about discerning what is of God from either the Mormon or Evangelical (or any other) perspective?
Does lack of these fruits demonstrate a failure to be “fully” Christian?
Do fruits of the Spirit demonstrate a closeness to the Spirit regardless of theology?
If I feel the Spirit and experience its fruits outside of either Mormonism or Evangelical Christianity, maybe even to a greater degree than I have experienced it in those contexts what conclusions can i draw?