on the importance of disruption…

A few posts back I mentioned something about the usefulness of disruption as part of the learning process, and since then it’s something that’s been popping in and out of my mind.  Now, I’m certain that many other people, much more intelligent than me, have written on this, but it strikes me as being utterly vital in pretty much every avenue of our development.

Take our understanding of God – throughout the bible, whenever one group of people think that they’ve nailed conceptually who God is and what he does, he disrupts that thing by doing something completely unexpected – examples might include the use of the Persian king to be God’s vessel in Nehemiah, or the huge disruption of the incarnation, or Peter’s experience on the roof in Caesarea when his worldview is turned upside down.  It seems to me that God loves disrupting our understanding of him, keeping us a little uncertain, so that we’re never arrogant enough to think that we’ve got him sussed.

It seems that the word ‘disrupt’ comes from the latin word ‘disrumpere’, or to break apart; a similar concept might be the classic Gospel idea of ‘repentance’, which in the original greek of the Gospels is phrased ‘metanoia’ – meaning ‘changing of mind’.  Now, I’m no theologian, really, or an expert in the classics – but these ideas do seem to resonate with each other.  Something about allowing ourselves be transformed by the experience of encountering God in unexpected and surprising ways.  This then leaves our world completely changed.

It strikes me that this isn’t just something that might be left behind in our scriptures as a historical series of events.  I think we may need to be open-minded enough to think that God might be in the business of challenging our assumptions and expectations of him all of the time.

Now, I’ve no doubt that the more that we encounter these disruptions, the more we actually discover that God is actually pointing us back to the reality of who he’s always been, rather than changing shape or anything like that – I think…  It’s just that uncertainty should be embraced as a crucial part of our spiritual development.  When we encounter disruption in our understanding of God, rather than being thrown too far off course, we should embrace it and seek to learn more about the true character of God.  Otherwise, we may be fooled into thinking that we can ‘control’ his actions through our prayers etc…

Sorry…bit dense tonight, but just the outworking of some of the stuff I’ve been thinking on lately…

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