Between the Lines: A Conversation with David Benner – Part 5

This is the last in a five-part interview with Dr. David Benner – author of the recent Brazos book Spirituality and the Awakening Self: The Sacred Journey of Transformation.

In Part 1, Dr. Benner discussed his purpose for writing Spirituality and the Awakening Self.
In Part 2, he talked about Christian mysticism and what it has to offer for one’s journey of transformation.
In Part 3, he discussed the role of community in that journey.
In Part 4, we asked David about the “first rule of care” for others.

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Finally, please comment on the understanding of the spiritual journey as primarily involving growth in Christ-likeness.

If Christ-likeness is not reduced to behavior but involves taking on both the mind and heart of Christ – not just the behavior of Jesus – this describes exactly what I think the journey involves.  But it cannot simply be a matter of conformity.  We must understand that the Christ-in-me will always look different from the Christ-in-you.

Also, we need to be clear to distinguish this from a journey of increasing sinless perfection.  Nor is taking on the heart and mind of Christ the same as adopting a set of beliefs.  Taking on the heart and mind of Christ involves experiencing and responding to one’s self, the world and God through the heart and mind of God.  This is what it means to become the new creature in Christ that we are called to be.

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For more information on Dr. David G. Benner and Spirituality and the Awakening Self, check out the Book Club page on Patheos.com.

Check out original posts from Dr. Benner, an excerpt from the book, and articles by Tony Jones, Jana Riess, and others.