Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Quadrilateral -- Experience

The final area of the Quad is the area of experience. In our day and age experience has an exulted role in our lives. We base things on how we feel about doing them. We determine our course of action by the previous outcomes and challenges of similar activities. Essentially we live in an time of if it feels good do it, and if it doesn't feel good, don't do it. This is the lenses through which we view experience.

Through reading the works of Wesley and other writers on the area of experience I find this is a place where the people called Methodist are a little pentecostal. This may or may not involve some of the classic actions of what many think of as pentecostal. It is my understanding that all followers of Jesus are pentecostal, some are simply more expressive than others. This is of course when we look at pentecostal less a label and more as a people who have the Holy Spirit imparted to their lives. Experience is in fact the place where emotions come into play, and the work of the Holy Spirit is what guides us in our actions.

Experience is not simply how we encounter the world, rather it is how the Holy Spirit works in our lives as we encounter the world. Not raw interaction, emotion and response, no, interaction, emotion and response based on the the movement of the Spirit. This would be the area Wesley referred to as sanctifying grace. They way in which we live out our relationship with God, as an extension of the grace shown to us through Jesus Christ, and fully developed in us through the work and being of the Holy Spirit.

It is important to note we are called beyond our own experience by the grace of God on a regular, if not daily basis. The use of experience to filter whether we should or should not do something is an exercise in following the Holy Spirit, not the human spirit.

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