Monday, April 2, 2012

Pride & Performance

We have reached the halfway point in our school; this is the week I assess the students in our Spiritual Formation Course.  Are they growing in the Lord?  Are they pressing into the teachings and homework?  What are their epiphanies and breakthroughs?  How is their devotional life standing up under the pressures of performance, outreach, the school, homework from other classes (more tangible and concrete assignments)?   If I weren't teaching the module, and even though I am, I'd struggle with the right to ask. 

In a course designed to cultivate each one's ability to 'be' with the Lord, how do we assess without a checklist of things to see if they were 'done'?

If we are to take pride in our work, how do we then assess performance?

How do we assess without driving people into legalism, or a performance mentality, but in order to further evoke their true personhood--in Christ?  Without judging their spiritual life, but making some evaluation as to their growth in Christ, the better to cultivate further growth, intimacy and maturity with the Lord?

As a missionary, I'm used to constant assessment of my ministry; am I 'performing,' effective, spiritually sound, and walking with the Lord?  Accountability it's called, a word thrown around muchly, but blunted by taboo: are we not offending, exposing, judging?  Who is to judge whether one's spiritual life is up to snuff? 

In my early days walking with Jesus, it was fairly routine to discuss with my peers what the Lord was doing in our lives.  It's become trickier in these later stages of life.  When did that go from excitement to fear of exposure as an imposter?  A disturbing line of thought for me...and I am grateful for the ones with whom I can still discuss and sharpen my spiritual life. 

Tough questions.  Any thoughts?!

1 comment:

  1. good thoughts... not to suggest throwing out the entire system (just yet, anyway - ha), but i wonder if an alternate way could instead come from simultaneously working to cultivate a culture of practiced self-examination along with a greater depth of walking closely with others (as in walking more closely than might be practical with more than a few people)? a culture of relationships that have the substance (safe, yet genuine enough to prevent them from sustaining much b.s.) where conversations similar to what you refer to in your early days walking with Jesus can continue to happen as a natural occurrence. one where obvious fruit (of one sort or the other) can be brought up in simple conversation - if not in the moment, then at least relatively soon after - so that these assessments aren't so much like a doctor's checkup (where we maybe even skew our answers/interaction according to whether we want to be found healthy or to be in need of prescription medication). more thoughts abound, but... :)