By Jason Crosby
Spiritual formation requires a multi-faceted approach. Spiritual formation occurs through knowledge and intellect. By poring over scripture, commentaries on it, and reflection, one will certainly grow in spiritual depth. However, spiritual formation goes far beyond this. While Christian spirituality requires biblical and theological understanding and knowledge, deeper spiritual formation requires testing one's knowledge and intellectual concepts in the real world. Spritual development really begins to occur when one takes their knowledge and understanding of the scripture and attempts to live out that understanding in the crucible that is reality.
As the father of a one year old, I have been thinking a lot about Brooks' spiritual development recently. I know that at Crescent Hill Baptist Church he will learn the Bible. Soon, his Sunday School teachers and others will tell him about Noah, Moses, David, Ruth, Jonah, Job, the prophets, Jesus, Zacchaeus, Jesus' disciples, and many others. Soon, he will learn what baptism is and what the bread and cup at the table represent.
What really excites me, however, is the fact that he will be able to put even the most basic concepts he will learn soon to the test in our congregation. Crescent Hill Baptist Church looks a lot like the real world I see beyond our walls. When we gather on Sunday mornings for Sunday School and worship, the world congregates. When we come together black, white, brown, rich, poor, gay, straight, english speaking, non-english speaking, the sick, the well, young, and old all assemble. That is what the world I see looks like. I am excited about what course Brooks' spiritual formation will take because the Exodus story becomes more real when learned alongside refugees, the words of the prophets carry greater meaning when sitting next to a gay man, and Jesus' promise of victory over death really hits home when taught by a woman in her nineties.