As with the previous post, I want to make sure people know I believe SoulShift is excellent material, and these posts are not criticisms, but my notes as I seek to adapt it for use in my community and context.
College Wesleyan Church, the birthplace of SoulShift, has a unique congregation. From my limited, and probably biased, outsiders view, I would call it a place where people are really living out an American dream life. Marion, IN, is a nice college town, away from the urban centers, but not so far away that one couldn’t drive to a major city to enjoy special activities or reach an airport. The church is on the Indiana Wesleyan University campus, and many of the professors attend College Wesleyan Church; this really raises the mean educational level of the congregation, along with the socio-economic advantages of having higher education. Ethnically, Marion is 78% White, but I also imagine that much of the city’s diversity is contained within the university.
Biblical holiness and maturity is not bounded by demographics, yet we should take into account that Oakdale differs from Marion as we present the material. Here are a few of the shifts that may have to be approached or presented differently: Continue reading Adapting SoulShift part 2
This Fall, Oakdale Wesleyan Church plans to grow through church-wide (all ages and stages) spiritual formation together using SoulShift. While I really like the material, I want to make sure we properly adapt SoulShift for our community and context, as we want to grow into the best body of Christ we can as Oakdale Wesleyan Church, instead of trying to become a “College Wesleyan Church Mini-me.” I may blog time to time on my adaptations. My first thought is to try and align the seven shifts with our church’s core values. Continue reading Adapting SoulShift
I awoke this morning to the sound of “Boing! Boing! Boing!” as a stuffed Tigger bounced his way from my feet up to my face. My daughter’s experiences, from flying on an airplane to visit relatives, the books we read together, and the television we watch, influence her play, and I suppose also her behavior. The more exposure she has to life, the more creative she becomes. Continue reading SoulShift: Ignorance to Wisdom
This post will get me labeled as a heretic from both the Protestants and Roman Catholics. I want us to consider that all of us may regularly overlook a true sacrament of the gospel, and in the 2000 years of Christianity, I am not the first person to bring this up. John Wesley makes the case in Sermon 98 that if we normally consider the ordinances and means of grace to be equivalent terms, then we must consider another act. John Wesley called it “visiting the sick,” but I will define it more broadly as acts of mercy. Continue reading The Sacraments as Means of Grace part 8: Acts of Mercy
Even though there are two chapters and an epilogue remaining, this will be my final post on SoulShift. The final chapters contain good practical aids for making a personal plan to achieve a soul shift and encouraging words to spur us on.
Chapter 7 begins with the most powerful illustration in the book, and I will not spoil it by re-posting it here; read the book. Continue reading SoulShift #7: Me to We
As I read this chapter, I recalled a cartoon I watched as a child. A wolf sits in a cave reading the newspaper. He reads the front page headline with delight. The U.S. Army has drafted the sheep dog for the war (WWII) effort. The wolf races from his den, down the hill to have a sheep lunch, but he is quickly and brutally rebuffed. The battered wolf returns to the cave to read the continuation of the news article below the fold line. The second headline reads: Continue reading SoulShift #6: Sheep to Shepherd
This soul shift focus on two areas, discernment and prayer, and personally, I think this is the best written chapter thus far.
Regarding discernment , I think the authors did an excellent job describing and putting into proper balance those things we use to discern God’s will: wise counsel, the Bible, and the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is all to easy to rely too heavily upon one of these tools. Asking people but not God, “using the Bible like “a magic 8 ball” (DeNeff & Drury), or always requiring a sign, all take one method of God leading us to an extreme. As we mature, taking on more of the mind of Christ, these things come into balance. Continue reading SoulShift #5: Ask to Listen
DeNeff and Drury point out that we in the USA live in a consumer orientated culture, and suggest that this mentality is part of church culture. I think while as Christians we should not be so removed from our culture that we have no bridges and common interests with the lost, the authors, and Jesus, are correct in saying how we view and use money and possessions is one area in which we must be counter-cultural. All things are a gifts to be used for God’s glory.
DeNeff and Drury encourage us to make this soul shift in three stages: spender to saver, saver to giver, sharing to blessing (generosity). They rightly show us that saving is not an end unto itself; it is only the first step. Also, since this is a continuum, I could see where I am, and where I need to move. How we deal with money will also affect our soul shift of seen to unseen.
One point the book does not deal with is the truth that for a married person this soul shift cannot be done alone. There is another continuum that we must deal with. Ask yourself the question, “Which do I desire more, freedom or security?” In general, men tend toward freedom and women toward security. When I was first asked this question, I thought I tended toward security, but as my response was analyzed I was actually a freedom guy. My answer went something like, “I would feel secure even if I didn’t have any money in the bank, as long as I didn’t owe money to anyone.” That is a freedom statement in the guise of security. My wife, on the other hand, does not mind owing money to people, provided that money we are paying is giving us a pay-off of security. Thus we have different philosophies on things like insurance.
In marriage, the two become one. It would be wrong of me to unilaterally cut our car insurance to the state mandated minimum and direct the savings to Josh and Becca Bowlin. (By the way, we are supporting the Bowlins, and they just need a few more supporters to get to 100%.) While cutting our insurance may be a good step to move from giving to blessing, it is a step that we would have to take together.
My reflections as I read through SoulShift by Steve DeNeff and David Drury.
- The first post in this series: Me to You
- The second post in this series: Slave to Child
- The third post in this series: Seen to Unseen
- The fourth post in this series: Consumer to Steward
- The fifth post in this series: Ask to Listen
- The sixth post in this series: Sheep to Shepherd
- The seventh post in this series: Me to We
©2011 Paul Tillman
This third soul shift is to move from merely trusting in what we see to trusting in what we cannot see. Often this is called having eyes of faith, and has a great example in Elisha and his servant who were surrounded by both the seen army of Aram and the unseen protection of the host of the Lord (2 Kings 6). Continue reading SoulShift #3: Seen to Unseen