Last week, I posted some thoughts on how I try to understand the word “soul” and my own soul. This week, I thought I would let you know how John Ortberg describes it in his book Soul Keeping. He uses several word pictures to describe the soul, but there is one actual diagram that shows the soul as the thing that connects or integrates our body, mind and will. I took that a step further and envisioned a geographically large European country that only has three major cities and no small towns. The only connection between the cities is a high-speed train (Hunger Games style). There are no roads and no navigable lakes or rivers in the country. In one city, there is a renowned university, in another, a large stadium for sporting and cultural events and in the third the only church in the country. Living in any of the individual cities is ok, but the only way to experience the country fully is to take the train. The train system was financed and built by the government, but due to the complexity, maintenance is time-consuming and expensive. Also, while the train is free to ride, citizens have to take the time to get on it to get to the other cities. I think any of these analogies break down when you are trying to describe something as complex and elusive as the soul, but I think God is pleased when we think about it for more than a second. I am interested to know what you think.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Last week I challenged you to tell me about your soul. Thanks to those of you who responded. When I began thinking about this, I struggled with how is the soul different from the Holy Spirit. Even though there is no way for me to fully understand God, I am taught that He is three in one: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirt. The Father is God, the creator. Jesus is the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the part of God that takes up residence in me when I declare Jesus as forgiver of my sins and the Lord of my life. So if the Holy Spirit is in me, is that kind of like my Soul?
The other thing that I wondered about is, “is the soul always good, or can the soul be bad?” I have heard of “lost souls” and of “wretched souls”, so if those descriptions are true, then I assume the soul can be good or bad.
These two things made me wonder if the soul might be a place inside me. That place is where the Holy Spirit resides if I have accepted Jesus. If you think of the place like a house where the Holy Spirit lives, then I don’t think that is big enough or rich enough to describe the Soul. But if you think of the place more as a house with a family when a new baby is born, like a home, then you pick up the idea that the Soul is responsible for caring for and nurturing the baby (Holy Spirit). By thinking of the Soul as a place, that also allows for the possibility that the place can be empty or filled with evil. These are my thoughts. As I am reading the book, the author’s ideas are quite different. Stay tuned.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
We have just begun a new season of our Connect Group through The Vine Church. In case you aren’t aware, Connect Groups are small groups of people that meet weekly in one of the member’s homes. Our group has 9 members and is led by my good friend, Dan Kniffen. I have mentioned Dan in a couple of earlier posts and am very pleased he agreed to lead. We are reading and discussing Soul Keeping by John Ortberg. Our first assignment was to define what “Soul” means to us and to come up with three words that describe our soul. I will report later but feel free to reply publicly or privately if you would like to participate. Oh yeah, we eat dinner every week, too. Soul food is welcome but not required.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Caroline and I just returned from a bicycle trip in the Loire Valley of France. We stayed in three small towns with bicycle trips each day. This was a once in a lifetime trip that I will remember forever. Each day we had scheduled stops at points of interest. One day we stopped at this beautiful cathedral. The sunlight cascading through the stained glass window was amazing. This church had been there for hundreds of years. I can hardly imagine the care that was taken with the design and build of this one window, and there were over a hundred windows like this in this one church. In our world of mobile phones that get discarded and replaced every 6 months, I was struck by the permanence of something this beautiful. I want a little more of that in my life.