October 02, 2007


Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant gratification is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people. – Richard Foster

Are you ever amazed at the fact that most of your relationships you have with people don't go beyond knowing their name, their wife's name, and what the score of the game this past week was? I mean truly, think about the relationships you have in your day to day life and ask yourself: How well do I really know this person? Do you know their story? Do you know what they love? Do you know what they hate? Do you know why they are doing what they are doing? Do you know their wins? Do you know their losses? Do you know their triumphs? Do you know their tragedies? Do you know their fears? Do you know they passions? What do you really know about the people with whom you spend your day with?

I would say that for most of us, we don't know a whole lot. And the reason is that superficial relationships are safe. As long as you can keep people at a distance and never let them know who you really are, you don't have to worry about them a whole lot. They can't hurt you. They can't wound you. They can't turn on you. And to do this, we'll be cordial when we pass them. We'll ask how they're doing – and not really care what the answer is. We may ask how the weekend went, or we may ask how the kids are doing in school. But we certainly won't ever care to go any deeper than that because if I ask them the deep questions, then I'm fair game as well.

And so we go on about our day never really knowing anybody and never really being known by anyone either. Our families know us, they've had to live with us the longest, but other than that we remain a mystery to most folks. Never committed, never invested, never fully in, and yet somehow never fully out. And it's this very problem that is helping to destroy churches all over America.

When we are saved by God, and lay our lives at the foot of the Cross, we are called to a life of community with not only God the Father, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit, but also with one another as believers in the same body, burial, and resurrection. We are commanded in Scripture to love one another, bear one another, forgive one another, chastise one another, pray for one another, hear one another, serve one another, and even die for one another.

And I ask you this question: How in the world are you going to genuinely do all those things for someone that you don't' even know? The answer is that you won't. And you haven't been. And you never will until you start exploring people and yourself at levels you've never done so before. Until you learn the internal practice of introspection and the external practice of investigation, you'll never know yourself or anyone else at a level deeper than being able to rap about ESPN. (Or whatever common thread females rap about?)

And that takes practice, it takes vulnerability, it takes courage, it takes being willing to be rebuffed, it takes openness to looking foolish, it takes intentionality, it takes guts.

And as Richard Foster so eloquently penned above, it's not for lack of intelligence or gifts that people don't do these things. It's because they're not deep people themselves nor do they challenge themselves to be so. They just live life watching the greatest gift ever given them pass by in meaninglessness. They give their life away and never make a difference. They throw breath away and TV is the most important thing they had. How sad.

How deep are you?

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