Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Is Maturity Really What I Want?

If maturity looks like the Protestant work ethic, or making sensible decisions I am not sure that I want it - at least not all the time. If maturity looks like caring about the bottom line, or making sure that I take care of myself first I am not sure that I want it - certainly not all the time. If maturity looks less like uninhibited freedom, and more like a fundamentalist version of self-control I am not sure that I want it.

One of my heroes of the faith, Harald Bredesen who died a little less than two years ago showed me a way to maturity, which was free from the trappings of getting old without getting graceful. Child-likeness was his greatest attribute, and he had stood before kings, Presidents, and famously rich people with his messages of grace and God's power.

Spiritual maturity may have some portion of the elements listed above, but it certainly does not look like the list of those characteristics which often seem to be the definition of maturity in our culture. I find myself wondering then what attributes I can add to my life to discover maturity, and which ones I can deem non-essential to real spiritual maturity.

One thing I do know: it is not what I think it is, and it is not what others sometimes wish to impose upon me.

What might you add to the list of important ingredients of spiritual maturity?

Here is the list of fellow synchroBloggers on the subject of Spiritual Maturity:

Phil Wyman asks Is Maturity Really What I Want?
Lainie Petersen at Headspace with "Watching Daddy Die"
Kathy Escobar at The Carnival in My Head with "what's inside the bunny?"
John Smulo at JohnSmulo.com
Erin Word at Decompressing Faith with "Long-Wearing Nail Polish and Other Stories"
Beth Patterson at The Virtual Teahouse with "the future is ours to see: crumbling like a mountain"
Bryan Riley at Charis Shalom is Still Complaining
Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church with "Maturity and Education"
KW Leslie at The Evening of Kent
Bethany Stedman at Coffee Klatch with Moving Towards True Being: The Long Process of Maturity
Adam Gonnerman at Igneous Quill with "Old Enough to Follow Christ?"
Joe Miller at More Than Cake with "Intentional Relationships for Maturity"
Jonathan Brink at JonathanBrink.com with "I Won't Sin"
Susan Barnes at A Booklook with "Growing Up"
Tracy Simmons at The Best Parts with "Knowing Him Who is From the Beginning"
Joseph Speranzella at A Tic in the Mind's Eye with "Spiritual Maturity And The Examination of Conscience"
Sally Coleman at Eternal Echoes
Liz Dyer at Grace Rules with "What I Wish The Church Knew About Spiritual Maturity"
Cobus van Wyngaard at My Contemplations with "post-enlightenment Christians in an unenlightened South Africa"
Steve Hayes at Khanya with "Adult Content"
Ryan Peter at Ryan Peter Blogs and Stuff with "The Foundation For Ministry and Leading"
Sound and Silence considers Inclusion and Maturity
Lew A at The Pursuit talks about Maturity and Preaching
Kai Schraml tells us about Mature Virtue


Steve Hayes said...

For Orthodox Christians spiritual maturity is being like God -- partakers of the divine nature -- and, as you say, that doesn't always fit with the world's idea of maturity, and can be distinctly countercultural.

Anonymous said...

Hi Phil - I didn't see mine in the list its http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/inclusion-and-maturity/

Sally said...

I think I would add vulnerability- well I would because that is what I blogged about, thnk you for heading this up again Phil!

Alan Knox said...

While it seems too obvious, what about love?


Anonymous said...

To me, spiritual maturity is about learning to walk through life and any situation with integrity, compassion, joy, humility, and other virtues.

Kai said...

My post on the synchro was a little late. I's appreciate it if you would add mine to the list. Many thanks.

Feel very free to remove this comment after you adding it. Thanks again.

cern said...

Forgiveness, but not forgetfulness.



Anonymous said...

I think I would add being a creator of beauty - your question got me thinking about God and who he is and being like him and the first thing that came to my mind is that God is a creator and the idea that a person who is spiritually mature (or at even having moments of maturity) is someone that is creating something beautiful. - Liz

Pastor Phil said...


I'm with you, but I wonder if Jesus would be viewed as mature in today's church.

Pastor Phil said...

hey soundie,

Gotcha listed now. Thanks for being a part of the blogfest.

Pastor Phil said...


What!? You want to be vulnerable?

Pastor Phil said...


Ummm...yeah too obvious to practice probably - or is it love actually simply too hard to practice?

Pastor Phil said...


Integrity is the biggy in your list, but of course that's only when I want someone else to practice it, and only when it is defined by ME. ;-)

It is a tough attribute to keep indeed, but somewhere we discover it in the midst of becoming authentic.

Pastor Phil said...


Thanks for joining the Synchie Gang. Good to have you onboard.

Pastor Phil said...


You are the most Christian Pagan I know! Thanks for practicing what we preach bro.

Miss you bunches, and love you more than bunches.

Pastor Phil said...


Grace rules is a perfect moniker for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Hi Phil--
Hm...qualities of a spiritually mature person.
Well, I would add the ability to hold paradox and contradiction without compromising any of the perspectives.

The spiritually mature people I've known always draw the circle bigger..and bigger...and bigger!

Thanks for the question and the synchroblog--great fodder!

Anonymous said...

hey phil, thanks for putting this synchroblog together. i do think the protestant work ethic is associated with what spiritual maturity is and i am so with you, that's not what i am interested in & i do not believe that it is at all consistent with the gospel. thanks for your thoughts and continued example of living out the ways of Jesus without pretense. it is beautiful to watch. kathy

Pastor Phil said...

Hi Beth,
Your comment about paradox and contradiction resonates with me.

I just hate it when things don't make sense though. (just kidding)

Pastor Phil said...


Thanks. I hope that I can melt into that unpretentious state of being Jesus exemplifies.

ded said...

Is a recognized and accepted list, the first step toward a new legalism? How do we say what is needed as evidence of maturity and address the diversity of both Christian expression and Christian individuals?

I go with Steve Hayes and Alan. The simple common denominator of the love embodied in the divine nature.

As He seeks His expression in each individual, and these individuals submit, the love the world groans for is revealed.

Where I live in the rough edges of flesh, lacking submission and my clinging to these maintains my immaturity of spirit, the community of believers is available to provide feed back and care which supports my pursuit of greater submission to His Spirit, and by extension then, greater maturity.

It is an incredible, majestic symphony of maturation occurring individually and corporately by His design and leadership which will effect a spotless Bride.

IZenBet said...

i want to get my hands dirty, my feet are worn, let's talk synchro...now is that swimming? or Heroes? or...that Iesu Crist character perturbing the paix?