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Wisdom’s Authority

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Wisdom Tradition

Wisdom’s Authority
Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I dare to write not because I strongly trust my own ability to think or write, but with a much stronger faith in the objective presence of the “Stable Witness” within (Romans 8:16), who “will teach you everything” (John 14:26) and whose “law is already written on your hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33). All that a true spiritual teacher really does is “second the motions” of the primal and ever present Holy Spirit.

The first motion is already planted within us by God at our creation (Jeremiah 1:5; Isaiah 49:1), and that is probably what gives spiritual wisdom both such inner conviction and such outer authority. The best compliment I ever get is something like this: “Richard, you did not teach me anything totally new. Somehow I already knew it, but it did not become conscious or real for me until you said it.”

That is the divine symbiosis between members of the body of Christ, or the “midwifery” of Socrates who believed that he was merely delivering the baby that was already inside the person. On some level, spiritual cognition is invariably experienced as “re-cognition.” Even Peter said that his work was largely “recalling” and “reminding” (2 Peter 1:12-15), and Jesus gave the same job description for the Holy Spirit (John 14:26).

I am also convinced by what Malcolm Gladwell calls in his book Blink, “thin slicing.” Gladwell believes that what we call insight or even genius comes from the ability of some people to “sift through the situation in front of them, throwing out all that is irrelevant, while zeroing in on what really matters. The truth is that our unconscious is really good at this, to the point where thin-slicing often delivers a better answer than more deliberate and exhaustive ways of thinking” (p. 33). Wisdom is a refined and Spirit-led ability to thin slice!

I would hope that I am doing some sort of thin slicing here, and that it will open you to real transformation and “what really matters.”

Gateway to Silence:
Wisdom pervades and penetrates all things.

Adapted from Things Hidden: Scripture As Spirituality, pp. 1-2

Image Credit: Stringing Pearls by Vanessa Guerin
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