Contemplative – Holiness – Charismatic
Social Justice – Evangelical – Incarnational
Each of the last six weeks, I’ve tried to take us through each of the different traditions, or streams, of Christian faith. All can be found in the life of Jesus. All can be studied in scripture, and all can be seen throughout the history of the church.
It’s been kind of amazing. Just in the last month, I’ve had a lot of conversations with different people, and it seems to be the same story over and over again. It usually goes something like this… “The _______________ tradition, that reminds me of a church I used to go to. And then, the _______________ tradition, man, I’ve had some weird experiences with that one. But the _______________ tradition, I’d really like to explore. It’s new to me.” I imagine you could fill in those blanks for yourself.
There’s an important question, though, to answer. What do we do with this? How can we take this information and make it more than information? How can we “be transformed by the renewing of our minds?” (Romans 12.2) As followers of Jesus, we want to be -more and more- like Jesus, to live as he lived, to love as he loved.
With that perspective in mind, I’d like to offer a few thoughts and ideas. This isn’t anything wild or crazy, but I hope that God will be at work in you, growing you, changing you, drawing you closer to Himself, as you read and consider this.
First, and this isn’t for everyone, if you want to take a deep dive into each of the traditions, I recommend reading Richard Foster’s book, Streams of Living Water. Some of it will be familiar from the sermon series, but it’s definitely worthwhile.
For all of us, consider taking a few minutes (or more) to pray through the six streams. For each, I have a question to ask God and a prayer. Don’t think of this so much as a time of reflection, but more of a time of asking and listening. Be open to what God may say to you as you read now and throughout the next few days.
The Contemplative Stream, a prayer-filled life
– Father, when can we spend time together today?
– Draw close to me, and teach me to love you today.
The Holiness Stream, a virtuous life
– Father, how am I settling for less than what you desire for me?
– I ask for the strength to live in a way that is only possible with your grace.
The Charismatic Stream, a Spirit-empowered life
– Father, in what ways do you want to reveal your power to me?
– Show me that you are in charge and that you are alive and active in my life.
The Social Justice Stream, a compassionate life
– Father, who do I know that needs justice and peace?
– Help me to love my neighbors like you love my neighbors.
The Evangelical Stream, a word-centered life
– Father, what do I believe about you that isn’t true?
– Give me the courage to share your good news and your love.
The Incarnational Stream, a sacramental life
– Father, in what ways are you at work in my normal day-to-day that I’m too busy to notice?
– Surprise me with your presence in unexpected places.