Beliefnet
Jesus Creed

We close today the book of Darryl Tippens,Pilgrim Heart. A gentle, ruminating set of reflections on themes in discipleship that mix the individual and the community. As I have said before on this blog, a discipleship that is group-shaped is more and more needed and this book takes us one step closer. Our theme today is “seeking” but before we get there, I mention again that in two weeks we begin Jon Wilson’s Why Church Matters.
Darryl opens with a magnet line from Flannery O’Connor — and I ought to add again that I like his wide-ranging quotations — “Don’t expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty.” (197) Now if that doesn’t strike home, nothing will.
A faithful heart, the book states, “is always a passionate pilgrim heart, ever on the road, ever moving forward — searching for understanding, seeking the face of God” (199).
And this leads him to the point of all spiritual disciplines, whether individually-framed or ecclesially-shaped: to love.
He concludes the book with a look at the final scene of John’s Gospel with Peter and Jesus and the disciples. “Tragedy,” he observes, “is pregnant with holy possibility” (201). They thought Jesus was gone; they learn he is not only alive but that he is present in the smallest of these and at work in the minorests of details: in the meal.
The Christian life is like Peter’s — one that has failure. Again from Flannery O’Connor: “When we get our spiritual house in order, we’ll be dead” (202). And he finishes off with a wonderful analogy.
Bob Keeshan was the man who acted the role of Captain Kangaroo — whom I watched as a boy. He began acting this role as a young man, 28 years old. He had to have his hair whitened and fake wiskers and a wig — and as he got older he began to morph into his character. His own line: “I have grown into the part.”
Isn’t this the essence of spiritual formation? To “become the part over time”?
How’s this for a closer? “In the end, the followers of Jesus know only love. We were created in love in order to love, so that we may finally be embraced forever by a greater Love that will never let us go” (205).
Darryl, we’re better for having spent these weeks with you and your book. Thanks brother.

Previous Posts
Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus