I wanted to give a recap of our group discussion on Participating in God's Life. If I miss something, please add it here, or if there is something you would like to add, please comment. . .
1. We agreed that there was a need to get past our heritage of being afraid of the Holy Spirit, recognizing that the Spirit is a who, not an it, and is part of the Godhead, and not limited to nothing more than words in the Bible.
2. Our traditions sometimes become so entrenched, that it is hard to see another way, even if it is more biblical. We truly are creatures of tradition and habit.
3. We noted that there are two dangers, one being the cold and lifeless rationalism that many of us are familiar with, and the other is the anything goes experientialism we see in charismatic groups. However, we didn't think that were were getting anywhere remotely close to the second extreme. Worship should be enjoyable because we should enjoy God. Worship should be lively because God is life. This should be reflected in our worship.
4. While our emphasis on being grounded in the Bible is commendable, we realize that God is not limited to words on a page or any other box we might try to put him in. We don't want to get everything right, get the structure correct, and it be hollow. As the book said, we don't want to build a correct temple yet forget about the one who is supposed to inhabit the temple.
5. God is always active in the world and in our lives. When we think God is only involved by "setting aside" the laws of nature, then we are speaking more from our tradition of enlightenment rationality rather than biblically. The biblical perspective is that God is involved all the time, sometimes in extraordinary ways, sometimes in the mundane things.
6. The last chapter of the book was the best. After getting through all the history, doctrine, and theology, it brings it all together by giving some steps to apply in participating more fully in God's life. We recognize that by "life," we don't mean the human conception of life, but the life that comes from the living God, which is spiritual and eternal. The trinitarian prayer sounded strange to us, possibly because we don't use trinitarian formulas in our worship much except for in baptism (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). But the greatest challenge is perhaps what the authors called, "Learning to enjoy God." We were created to love God, to enjoy our relationship with Him. Thinking that serving God is somehow supposed to be dutiful and somewhat joyless is not biblical.
We didn't talk about "Dirty Philosophy" per se, but we did discuss it in other terms. There was the observation that this book was deep, and at times hard to read due to the use of unfamiliar terms. One of the things this book made clear is that we are affected by our culture more than we realize, but our culture is shifting, which should cause us to evaluate what of our beliefs about God is biblical, and what is more the result of our scientific, rational culture.