I had been considering reading his book and just hadn’t put it on my list … until a couple of weeks ago. And so I just recently finished reading Michael Spencer’s one and only book, Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality. It was just the right thing at just the right time … truly a kairos time moment with Papa.
The front and back covers of my copy of this book have notations from 37 pages throughout the very important little book. Notations that I wanted to be sure I could find again. But the one for page 184 is the reason for this post today.
Near the end of the chapter 15, The Good and Bad of Being Alone, Michael says:
Jesus is the Model for faithfully following God no matter what the group advocates, teaches, legislates, or demands. He was the most distinctive individual of all time, and he possesses the power to make us both like himself and fully, completely ourselves. In Jesus is the power of holy solitude and Jesus-shaped community…. (pp. 183-184)
When I read those words, something clicked in my brain. I wrote this in the space following that paragraph:
Hmmm … our first community is to be with Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Perichoretic Community.
Contrary to some of what I had heard, the iMonk is not advocating an inappropriately individualistic version of Christianity. He is suggesting that our primary community is to be Perichoretic – intertwined with the Eternal Community. Until we can be one with Them, we will not ever be fully ourselves. And until we can be fully ourselves, we will not be able to fully give ourselves to others.
... I'm pondering this well ... and there is a good reason why perichoretic is purple.... But we'll get to that as we go along. ;^)
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I have been waiting for a very long time to write about perichoresis … but I have been waiting for the right time. And it seems that the right time has finally come. Thank you, Michael, for handing that final Jesus-shaped piece to me … I am so very grateful.
So … I will be looking over some of the things I have scribbled in journals about perichoresis over the past four years and seeing how they look with this piece in place. I have a feeling that it will be much simpler and more straight-forward. I was waiting until the complexity resolved … and, as always, the time has been important for me – so that I was ready to receive this piece at this place in my journey.
Stay tuned ... and, in the meantime, be blessed!