Category Archives: Christian-gifts

Mountains

Seven Mountains

The church I attend has started interest groups that serve to connect people who are called to, or now involved within one of the “seven mountains of influence”. This idea is based from a teaching that seems to have originated in 1975, from Campus Crusade and Youth With A Mission leaders. I was not very informed about it until recently (and still not well versed), but it is an interesting way to communicate a concept that has a parallel to similar ideas that have been around much longer.
In more negative terms is the idea of “the fifth colun” or in closer terms could be the ideas of “The Third Culture“, although not really like either of those, the seven mountains holds one similar line of thought: changing the status quo through those of a different worldview.

As the “Reclaiming the 7 Mountains” website says it:
“These seven mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.”

I think our church has a little different take than the original, but takes the same view of the categories. Anyway, I went to the first meeting centered around the “Media” mountain.

There is a great deal of emphasis on using your gifts to a full potential; and that would be all your gifts, both natural and spiritual. It is something I am very interested in right now, and might mean that this blog will change and get more attention from me (writing, posts, stuff!)

I want to share my faith here, and explore thoughts and opinions as I did in the past, but not in the same way that I had. So much of social media has replaced the functions of the old style blogs. We’ll see if there are new avenues for this blog to follow.

In the meantime, think about reading more about the “Seven Mountains” and where you fit. We all want to develop our gifts, I think, but sometimes we get confused along the way (I know that has often happened in my life), but perhaps a fresh way of looking at vision and our life map could not just invigorate our projects, but give better focus to our energies and time.

Theological Gobbledegook

Absurdities of the religious I could call it, and this post is likely to make some people angry I suppose. No one likes their carefully constructed ideals poked at, but then I don’t like foolishness under the guise of well thought out theology.

I read through some teaching on “the use and application of the manifestation gifts”, and started parsing out the veils and layers of high sounding language. Finally, I ended up just plain disgusted with what gets passed off as relevant teaching. I’m not linking any examples because it has nothing to do with the church or individuals who wrote the offending pablum, it has to do with what we are all engaging in when trying to give the gospel a makeover.

There are many people who decry “experiential faith”, but sometimes that is the kind that is needed. Let’s get out of the ivory tower before we start to talk “theology”. Theology without reality is just myth, friends. We can insert all the high falutin’ godwords we want, but it won’t bring truth into ivory tower once the fairy tales start.

The trouble is that we take our ideas and theories and try to make the theology fit that, instead of taking what is actually in scripture and then applying it to ourselves and our practice. It just gets more and more fantastical as we move along with it in the directions we feel we would like to take it. Pretty soon we are saying some pretty silly things. Not at all pretty.

I’m for plain talk and plain truth. I think that is more than enough, if we would just partake of it and serve it to “whosoever will”.

So how did the bat get in my belfry and the bee in my bonnet? I read some things like: “Spiritual Gifts…-Holy Spirit power to meet human need through the life of a yielded believer”. Ok. How then does one explain individuals like Leroy Jenkins? You don’t have to be “yielded” to manifest spiritual gifts, and that was the big part of the problem for the original Corinthian church. Manifested gifts are given by God for His purposes, yes, but they are entrusted to believers and sometimes the believers don’t earn that trust… but that doesn’t mean that the gift gets rescinded. If Christians understood that they wouldn’t be so dazzled by the display of gifts and would understand more of the importance of “fruit”.

Then, “Worship services are practice sessions for real life”
No they’re not. No, they’re not. Worship services are to give worship to the most High God. Worship services are to render the service of awe and honor to the Lord in a corporate body. It is in real time… not a practice session for anything else. You know how that phrase strikes me? As idolatry. The idolatry of the big US and OUR IMPORTANCE. If we don’t come before the Lord for real, then that is pretty pathetic.

“Avoid sounding spooky” That sounds cute. It is cute until you realize that trying to avoid something just is so contrived. The spookiness is probably one sort of contrived “holy sounding” fake spirituality standing in for an actual relationship to God and the person God is ministering to through you, but trying to not sound spooky (and doing anything but serving as a conduit) is just something artificial…too much about you again.

I’m not going to fisk the entire teaching, these examples are enough for the point made here.

The people who write those ideas, and think that way, mean well. I’m sure of that, and likely don’t feel they deserve to get slapped by this, but we need a real faith more than we need to be artificially nice and careful about everyones feelings. The teachers trying to get their points across are probably pretty terrific people, I have no doubt; but they are trying too hard to please men, and missing the whole point about who the Lord is in this whole matter. The confabulations of that sort of theology is simply foolishness, and it is not the answer for how we should speak to a post Christian culture. or to each other… or at all for that matter. At best it is a waste of everyone’s time and at worst it is confusing and misleading.

We need to get our facts straight. Then preach and teach and live it that way.

The Semantics of Giftedness

A shorter post ( I know some heave a sigh of relief) to quickly clarify the semantics… because as is common we use the same terms to cover disparate sections of a broad topic. First, planes of gifting [I know that sounds very odd]:

  • the physical plane of talents and proclivities
  • the human souls plane of *advanced development
  • the spiritual plane of gifts of the Spirit, sourced and managed by God’s Holy Spirit

The three of these are all giftings that are resident in people ( although the third is exclusive to and remains under the oversight of the Holy Spirit- not every one has them, not everyone gets them). The first one I’d say everyone has to some degree or another, but when we speak of gifted individuals we are usually talking about exceptional in some aspect.

*Advanced Development is an idea explained in the book, The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius(tm) by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen. She gives three categories of this as “Humanistic Vision”, “Mandated Mission”, and “Revolutionary Action”. I will probably touch on some of those ideas as this topic progresses. I’m going to use her book as the basis for the semantics as they are found on the secular stage.

To move on…

Christian Semantics

When you go to a Christian bookstore and buy a book that is supposed to help you identify your gifts, or if you take a test that some churches offer, you are matching up the first two planes of your perceivable giftings and then it is categorized under the third set, the nine named gifts of the Spirit, and sometimes linked with the callings listed in 1 Corinthians 12:28. there is a reason this can work, although it isn’t accurate. The reason I think it can work is because the God who made you does have a ‘Plan’ and the desire to fit you into that plan. the big P being the overall plan of the ages, and the little p being the plan that will fit you into a part of that. Let’s forget that there are those who would argue with me on that… that is another topic. But most will agree that it makes sense that the talents you have in your given abilities, the inner motivations that seem part of your nature, and the spiritual gifts that are given for the purpose of your function in the body of Christ are likely linked through God’s wisdom and foresight. that is why I say those tests and books probably help you discern something of the spiritual gifts… but not always as God always reserves some surprises. Yes, good surprises!

I believe that the reason a book such as Jacobsens’ gets written is due to the fact that people with the first two planes of gifting tend to get very damaged when they are without the nurture and support that is necessary for human beings to develop properly. there are so many reasons for this that we will skip trying to put blame on anyone; there is enough blame for this all around. But Jacobsen does find much is centered in the misunderstanding of the surrounding culture for those who stand out as “different”, and many people who are exceptional in some way, even useful ways, are sometimes unaccepted because they are different in their relationship to the rest of the world…those who aren’t thinking or acting as the uniquely gifted person does. And we all know the cliched perception of “different as bad”.

I know that I cried when first facing and realizing the importance of getting this right for myself. I have been that damaged and that labeled as “bad”. I have internalized it, and use it as part of my “personal brand”. It forces me to go to that “humble place” when I really don’t want to go there! It also underwrites much of my underachievment and self-defeating behaviors. So it isn’t the type of humbling you want, the better part of humble is to produce it from within, not receive the humiliation from without. That is yet another potential post…

I cried because it touched on something I have felt deep within: so much is lost… so much time, so much potential, and I am not anywhere near what I had believed I would have been at this time of life. I cried with some relief, that perhaps I have an answer on what tack to take to recover what I can. The admonition of “redeeming the time” has always been an urgent one in my heart.

And finally, I cried because this is what God has been steadily doing: remaking me, and righting the wrong bends that were formed in my being.

Secular Semantics

Some people are still stuck in IQ when it comes to thinking about giftedness, but most respected sources of information and research have moved far beyond the initial ideas of IQ testing. Commonly spoken of are “multiple intelligences”.
Some of these have been called

  • body-smart
  • word-smart
  • spatial-smart
  • music-smart
  • logic-smart
  • relationship-smart
  • nature-smart
  • self-smart

These are further refined by traits such as

  • intensity
  • complexity
  • drive

You can start to see the way that multiple combinations and levels can combine to produce “genius” in people, of many differing sorts. You can also see how certain gifted people can be overlooked, and unknown as “gifted”, even though they have the personality quirks to go along with it and can suffer the out of sync problems that the gifts can cause.

Jacobsen has a list of Ten Criticisms that illustrate the problems such personalities run into…
have you internalized any of them in your life?

  1. Why don’t’ you slow down?
  2. You worry about everything
  3. Can’t you stick with just one thing?
  4. You’re so sensitive and dramatic!
  5. You have to do everything the hard way
  6. You’re so demanding
  7. Can’t you ever be satisfied?
  8. You’re so driven
  9. Where do you get all those wild ideas?
  10. Who do you think you are?

I know that last one is one I heard ALOT!

If we viewed people we reacted to through those questions (which we might find ourselves asking them), we may just get a small handle on what it is that they are trying to express from their valid internal makeup of gifts and motivations. We might understand where they are “coming from”, in other words. And if we view ourselves properly we might neutralize the pain those questions can trigger.

consider this “Part One”. I might switch to a podcast during one of these discussions.