Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Path of Passionate Inquiry

Since it is a New Year and the time of resolutions, musings, and remembrances, I think it a good time to take a look at where we’ve been and where we might choose to go.

As Adventists we pride ourselves in our history of passionate inquiry into the scriptures. So much so in fact that we have developed a culture of debate. Looking back at my years in Sabbath School classes and Bible discussions, I recall fervent and arduous conversations about who were the 144,000, what was the meaning of Revelation 14, what was the true nature of Christ, and on and on. We care about the “truth” and are devoted to standing on the side of “right”.

This direction of passionate inquiry, however, has not necessarily made us the “salt” of the earth that Christ was referring to, nor have we become a light that lightens the darkness in the powerful, transformational way that we have hoped. It’s not that we have asked bad questions and I’m not suggesting they are unimportant; it is just that they do little to transform our hearts or the hearts of others.

Here are a few suggestions for new directions of passionate inquiry. They will hopefully help us receive some amazing, life-changing answers that will make us light workers in the world.

• What is my personal soul covenant? This answers the questions of why I am here, what am I here to learn, and who am I here to serve.
• What is the next step on my spiritual path?
• Where am I resistant to letting God's Spirit work in my life?
• Am I serving in the way that best fulfills my soul covenant?
• Am I listening more to the voice of Spirit in my life or is my ego still calling the shots?
• How is my life different this year than last?
• Has my picture of God grown larger over the last year or are my beliefs exactly the same as they have always been? Why or why not?
• Am I a more loving person with my family, my neighbors, and my co-workers?
• Has my spiritual practice—prayer, meditation, study of sacred scriptures, time spent learning in nature, and service to others—transformed my life?
• Do I have a daily spiritual practice in my life?
• Do I know the voice of Spirit?
• Do I spend consistent time in quiet before God, listening for God’s voice and gaining a greater understanding of the reason for my life?

These are just a few ideas that one might consider for the New Year. They are not by any means exhaustive, but they are powerful, potent, life changing, and personal. If we choose to move away from religious dogma and decide to get up-close and personal with God, we find that we know less and less about the “truth”.

Authentic honesty before God always brings a large dose of humility with it. When we approach God from a sense of our personal need to be filled and transformed with God it doesn’t give us a whole lot of time or space to spend expounding upon things that we really know very little about.

For the New Year, let’s each one commit to bringing about change, not in the church or in the world, but to letting God change “me” first. Passionate inquiry always leads to answers. The question then becomes the most important indicator of what answers we will receive and where we will end up. This year, let’s start asking some new questions.


  1. Julie,

    It's nice to be reminded of the important stuff. It appears sometimes that folks are only interested in the stuff that yields a great discussion or argument, or something that allows for heated exchanges. You have challenged me, and I thank you for that!

  2. "Allowing God to change me" - the hardest. It's so much easier to complain about what someone else is doing!

  3. That personal search to see "The Glory of God in the face of Jesus", isn't that where we all must develop our RELATIONSHIP?
    Thank You, Julie