Head Trip or Heart Trip?

Tomorrow I get to fly back home to enjoy a day with the friends that help us pray and listen to Jesus for what we do through Lifestream and The God Journey, and to have a day with our whole family. Looking forward to it.

Last week I found this email that so resonated with me as well:

It’s funny how when Christian folks find out we don’t attend a church, we kind of become their project to get us into their church. I’m sure I was exactly the same, not too long ago. A couple guys that I have become friends with are very intellectual in their pursuit of God. One attends a Catholic church, the other a Baptist church. Every so often, they will buy me a book to read or CD’s to listen to. I’m reading a book about a protestant who turned catholic and a book about Calvinism. I may have to start turning down their requests to read these books because I feel like I’m all cluttered up, if that makes sense.

Both are very passionate about doctrine. Their argument is that if you don’t have correct doctrine/theology, you can’t really get to know God. I appreciate their passion to know God better, I’m just not so sure of the route. God always amazes me and seems to reveal Himself to us, even when we aren’t “doing it right”, so I believe He will honor the desire of their hearts to know Him. I don’t really know if I’m a Calvinist or an Armenian or somewhere in the middle. I’m not really sure I care what camp I fall into. My focus and prayer for months has been:

  • “Father, I want to know you more intimately, the way you want me to know you.”
  • “Father, open my eyes and help me to see how much you love me and those around me, and teach me to respond to that love.”
  • “Father, when I read the Bible, reveal yourself to me. Help me to see what you want me to see about you.”

Then I get around these real intellectual guys and I think, “is my approach too simple?”. But when I start studying all the heady stuff, I get all clogged up. When I go back to just my simple focus, I mentioned above, there is a rest and peace. I guess that answers my question, huh?

Yes, I think he did!

I know for me when my spiritual journey was more of a head trip than learning to live loved, I was much more enamored with doctrinal positions. While I still believe in the importance of sound doctrine and growing in the truthof who God is, I don’t think he is nearly so complicated as some scholars would have us believe. Learning to live in his love and love those around me, including those who cross my path each day, is far more joyful and far more intellectually challenging than all the other things that use to fascinate me. And his truth emerges in the loving.

I guess that’s what Paul meant when he said “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Living loved leads to correct doctrine, but rarely does correct doctrine lead to living loved.

Share this Post!

Related post

20 Comments
  1. Mary Freeme April 21, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!! This has been my experience as well and it was you, Wayne that Father used to lead me into this amazing truth of living loved. Thank you

  2. Mary Freeme April 21, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!! This has been my experience as well and it was you, Wayne that Father used to lead me into this amazing truth of living loved. Thank you

  3. Barry Grecu April 21, 2011 at 3:33 am

    Dear Wayne,

    Can I just be honest? I’ve been around a number of people who supposedly espouse the “grace message” and I have found them to be more interested in the “correct” articulation of their message than in intimacy with God (although they would never admit it!)
    This push for correct doctrine on “life in Christ” has led to a separation from other brethren who aren’t “in the know” and a questioning, “Do they know the Exchanged Life?” It has just about become cultic.
    So when you talk about the Catholic and the Baptist who may be focused on their doctrines over against intimacy with the Father, let me just say that their are some “gracies” whose doctrine has become just as important to them than a relationship with the LIVING God, much less some of God’s children.

  4. David Alves April 21, 2011 at 5:24 am

    An encouragement to the author of the email: Freedom and simplicity! I was enmeshed in the complexity trip. When I first came out of seminary, my head was swimming too. I found that somehow intellectual/theological pursuits, though informing, seem to work against simple faith and relationship. Seldom do they deepen faith and love.

    I asked the Lord to wash me of the effects it had upon my walk. He was faithful and did release me from whatever had troubled me, because He is good . . . and my heart toward Him was always one of love and deep desire to KNOW him.

    Even my choice to attend seminary was because that’s what the leaders in my life (as a young disciple) had told me that’s what I needed to draw closer. It wasn’t true. Though I value certain aspects of my seminary education (it was through my reading there that I first met Wayne and later invited him to Sutton, MA), it was both helpful and harmful; but nothing stopped Father from making it all good in his time. But that’s because it was never really about more knowledge for me. It was always about drawing closer, going deeper into the love that Jesus shared with me.

    Wayne is absolutely right. Living loved does lead to correct doctrine, whereas correct doctrine seldom leads to living Loved.

  5. Barry Grecu April 21, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Dear Wayne,

    Can I just be honest? I’ve been around a number of people who supposedly espouse the “grace message” and I have found them to be more interested in the “correct” articulation of their message than in intimacy with God (although they would never admit it!)
    This push for correct doctrine on “life in Christ” has led to a separation from other brethren who aren’t “in the know” and a questioning, “Do they know the Exchanged Life?” It has just about become cultic.
    So when you talk about the Catholic and the Baptist who may be focused on their doctrines over against intimacy with the Father, let me just say that their are some “gracies” whose doctrine has become just as important to them than a relationship with the LIVING God, much less some of God’s children.

  6. Doug April 21, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Well that is way too coincidental. I am seeing the same problem from a different angle and was going to send Wayne a direct note with my concerns but I guess I’ll do it here. I am receiving a second sad first hand confirmation of the dangers of people putting together small congregations cut off from (and largerly uninterested in) the larger body, good training (yes I think seminary or something like it for all it’s faults is critical) or the wealth of experiences and learning acquired in 2000 yrs of church history in all three of the major movements (Eastern, Roman, Protestant). It is breaking my heart as I see people I care about distracted from really learning to walk with Father by another “flat earth” theology. As useless as the Calvinist-Arminian “fight” seems to me at least both sides are more or less grounded on solid historical and theological grounds, more or less. Knowledge puffing up is bad enough but false knowledge that tickles the ears and leaves people running after the latest “discovery” that the rest of the body missed for 2000 years is poisionous. Even trying to appeal to “hey let’s just resolve like Paul to know nothing but Christ and He crucified” seems to have little impact against the “shiny ball syndrome”. Perhaps the road is even narrower than I would like to believe and I know that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts but I’m not ready yet to just write folks off to their “destiny”. All this I guess to ask, in the healthy desire to tip over sacred cows where are the watch dogs against false teachings? To which the cry is “who determines?” which is why I think we need the larger body (Eastern, Roman, Protestant) and over 2000years of Christ working in peoples lives to draw from. As much as it hurts to walk away from those that are determine to put out such things it is the baby christians that are just coming to the faith and simply drink whatever they are handed that most concerns me. No that’s not right my heart breaks for both.

  7. David Alves April 21, 2011 at 8:24 am

    An encouragement to the author of the email: Freedom and simplicity! I was enmeshed in the complexity trip. When I first came out of seminary, my head was swimming too. I found that somehow intellectual/theological pursuits, though informing, seem to work against simple faith and relationship. Seldom do they deepen faith and love.

    I asked the Lord to wash me of the effects it had upon my walk. He was faithful and did release me from whatever had troubled me, because He is good . . . and my heart toward Him was always one of love and deep desire to KNOW him.

    Even my choice to attend seminary was because that’s what the leaders in my life (as a young disciple) had told me that’s what I needed to draw closer. It wasn’t true. Though I value certain aspects of my seminary education (it was through my reading there that I first met Wayne and later invited him to Sutton, MA), it was both helpful and harmful; but nothing stopped Father from making it all good in his time. But that’s because it was never really about more knowledge for me. It was always about drawing closer, going deeper into the love that Jesus shared with me.

    Wayne is absolutely right. Living loved does lead to correct doctrine, whereas correct doctrine seldom leads to living Loved.

  8. Doug April 21, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Well that is way too coincidental. I am seeing the same problem from a different angle and was going to send Wayne a direct note with my concerns but I guess I’ll do it here. I am receiving a second sad first hand confirmation of the dangers of people putting together small congregations cut off from (and largerly uninterested in) the larger body, good training (yes I think seminary or something like it for all it’s faults is critical) or the wealth of experiences and learning acquired in 2000 yrs of church history in all three of the major movements (Eastern, Roman, Protestant). It is breaking my heart as I see people I care about distracted from really learning to walk with Father by another “flat earth” theology. As useless as the Calvinist-Arminian “fight” seems to me at least both sides are more or less grounded on solid historical and theological grounds, more or less. Knowledge puffing up is bad enough but false knowledge that tickles the ears and leaves people running after the latest “discovery” that the rest of the body missed for 2000 years is poisionous. Even trying to appeal to “hey let’s just resolve like Paul to know nothing but Christ and He crucified” seems to have little impact against the “shiny ball syndrome”. Perhaps the road is even narrower than I would like to believe and I know that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts but I’m not ready yet to just write folks off to their “destiny”. All this I guess to ask, in the healthy desire to tip over sacred cows where are the watch dogs against false teachings? To which the cry is “who determines?” which is why I think we need the larger body (Eastern, Roman, Protestant) and over 2000years of Christ working in peoples lives to draw from. As much as it hurts to walk away from those that are determine to put out such things it is the baby christians that are just coming to the faith and simply drink whatever they are handed that most concerns me. No that’s not right my heart breaks for both.

  9. Sue April 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I can relate to the writer, in the past couple of week’s I’ve had a co-worker send me an email about going to their little group, their church split up and part of them are getting together to have Bible Studies, she quoted about 5 scriptures as to why I should be going to church, I thanked her but said it was more important that I be where Father was wanting me at the moment. In the past 3-4 years of being outside the church walls I feel in my heart that I have grown closer to Father than ever before. I used to be totally involved in my church, but it ended up taking the place of my relationship with Father…I was putting all my effort into ”doing” instead of just being with Him. I’m not putting the church down, I got a good foundation from going to church, but I started praying that God teach me what He wanted me to know, not what some individual wanted me to know. Everyone brings their own life experiences to the Word, so you can make out of it anything you want, some people end up worshipping the minister instead of the Father. The scriptures say the Holy Spirit will teach His people, and Jesus said He will build His church, for some reason we think we are the ones that are supposed to be teaching and building, we get so wrapped up in building funds, and new programs that Father gets left out all together. There is a freedom in being with God on a one to one basis and allowing Him to lead you.

  10. Sue April 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I can relate to the writer, in the past couple of week’s I’ve had a co-worker send me an email about going to their little group, their church split up and part of them are getting together to have Bible Studies, she quoted about 5 scriptures as to why I should be going to church, I thanked her but said it was more important that I be where Father was wanting me at the moment. In the past 3-4 years of being outside the church walls I feel in my heart that I have grown closer to Father than ever before. I used to be totally involved in my church, but it ended up taking the place of my relationship with Father…I was putting all my effort into ”doing” instead of just being with Him. I’m not putting the church down, I got a good foundation from going to church, but I started praying that God teach me what He wanted me to know, not what some individual wanted me to know. Everyone brings their own life experiences to the Word, so you can make out of it anything you want, some people end up worshipping the minister instead of the Father. The scriptures say the Holy Spirit will teach His people, and Jesus said He will build His church, for some reason we think we are the ones that are supposed to be teaching and building, we get so wrapped up in building funds, and new programs that Father gets left out all together. There is a freedom in being with God on a one to one basis and allowing Him to lead you.

  11. nancy April 23, 2011 at 7:20 am

    When humans chose to take good and evil upon themselves rather than leave it in God’s hands, judgment came into the world….God’s judgment and the very fallible judgments of humans. In the Bible you see a progression: people left on their own resulted in so much evil that God sent the flood, then God calling patriarchs and setting his people apart which eventually led to slavery, then the giving of the law (which shows the law does not stop evil), then judges, then kings, then captivity, then overrule…with prophets all along the way, until, depending on your tradition, relative silence from God leading up the the birth of Jesus into a very legalistic time…the religious legalism of the Jews and the political legalism of the Romans. Religion keeps telling us that all this is about disobedient children needing to be justified under the judgment of their Father. Jesus comes to tell us and show us that our Father loves us and we are free from the judgment we chose for ourselves and that it is God’s love that changes our hearts and draws us to Him and one another. As i heard again this year the passage about Jesus dying on the cross and it says “He gave up His Spirit”, it struck me that as Jesus gave up His Spirit, we received His Spirit. as His Spirit is now in us and Jesus lives in us and through us. We no longer have to live in our self-imposed slavery to jegement and law. Religion-as oppposed to faith-keeps taking us back into history and keeping us under judgment where a lot of focus is on judging each other. When we consider all of humanity the body of Christ and focus on loving Jesus’ Spirit within each person then we don’t need the legalism. Jesus gave us our freedom, but we keep going back and choosing slavery. We are part of the risen Jesus and His Spirit lives in us filling us with the love of our Father….we have “passed over” from slavery to freedom, why do we want to go back?

  12. nancy April 23, 2011 at 10:20 am

    When humans chose to take good and evil upon themselves rather than leave it in God’s hands, judgment came into the world….God’s judgment and the very fallible judgments of humans. In the Bible you see a progression: people left on their own resulted in so much evil that God sent the flood, then God calling patriarchs and setting his people apart which eventually led to slavery, then the giving of the law (which shows the law does not stop evil), then judges, then kings, then captivity, then overrule…with prophets all along the way, until, depending on your tradition, relative silence from God leading up the the birth of Jesus into a very legalistic time…the religious legalism of the Jews and the political legalism of the Romans. Religion keeps telling us that all this is about disobedient children needing to be justified under the judgment of their Father. Jesus comes to tell us and show us that our Father loves us and we are free from the judgment we chose for ourselves and that it is God’s love that changes our hearts and draws us to Him and one another. As i heard again this year the passage about Jesus dying on the cross and it says “He gave up His Spirit”, it struck me that as Jesus gave up His Spirit, we received His Spirit. as His Spirit is now in us and Jesus lives in us and through us. We no longer have to live in our self-imposed slavery to jegement and law. Religion-as oppposed to faith-keeps taking us back into history and keeping us under judgment where a lot of focus is on judging each other. When we consider all of humanity the body of Christ and focus on loving Jesus’ Spirit within each person then we don’t need the legalism. Jesus gave us our freedom, but we keep going back and choosing slavery. We are part of the risen Jesus and His Spirit lives in us filling us with the love of our Father….we have “passed over” from slavery to freedom, why do we want to go back?

  13. nancy April 23, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Just a few added thoughts: We study and analyze the Bible, taking it apart and seeing God’s consistency and fulfillment, but not putting it back together to experience as a whole. Once humanity took good and evil into our own hands, God let us try in all different ways to save ourselves and see that we couldn’t (as i detailed above). So Jesus came to show us what being human and living as one with our Father really is. As He showed His love to many different people , he taught them, helped them, healed them and changed their hearts. The only people Jesus condemned outright were the Jewish legalists, the religious leaders of that time.
    But we humans, in our greatest misjudgment of good and evil, put Him to death…to say it another way, we tried to put God’s love to death. (And isn’t this what we do over and over in the ways we treat each other?) And though we killed Jesus’ human body, we could not kill God’s love….God’s love prevailed over all death and judgment…and Jesus rose to show that.
    Now we are one with God and one with others in His love, saved from the burdens judgment carries, and free to love in His Spirit as He loves us. Because we are human, we can’t love perfectly and we also tend to take back the burdens of judgment at times, and that’s why we are saved by being in God’s love, rather than by anything we do or don’t do.

  14. nancy April 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Just a few added thoughts: We study and analyze the Bible, taking it apart and seeing God’s consistency and fulfillment, but not putting it back together to experience as a whole. Once humanity took good and evil into our own hands, God let us try in all different ways to save ourselves and see that we couldn’t (as i detailed above). So Jesus came to show us what being human and living as one with our Father really is. As He showed His love to many different people , he taught them, helped them, healed them and changed their hearts. The only people Jesus condemned outright were the Jewish legalists, the religious leaders of that time.
    But we humans, in our greatest misjudgment of good and evil, put Him to death…to say it another way, we tried to put God’s love to death. (And isn’t this what we do over and over in the ways we treat each other?) And though we killed Jesus’ human body, we could not kill God’s love….God’s love prevailed over all death and judgment…and Jesus rose to show that.
    Now we are one with God and one with others in His love, saved from the burdens judgment carries, and free to love in His Spirit as He loves us. Because we are human, we can’t love perfectly and we also tend to take back the burdens of judgment at times, and that’s why we are saved by being in God’s love, rather than by anything we do or don’t do.

  15. Robyn April 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I can totally empathize what that emailer was sharing. My little brother is a Calvinist, and is always trying to fix me and my older brother, since we believe our Father is much different than the wrathful, perfection obsessed GOD our brother would have us believe He is. We both feel discouraged when he wrangles us into these debate like conversations trying to persuade us that he’s right and we’re going to hell if we don’t start FEARING(the scary kind) GOD. We don’t like to debate him, but he loves it. We try to extend mercy and help him to see that is what our Father does for us but it usually is a losing battle so we give up, try to encourage him to just talk about our things like we used to. But he thinks anything he;s doing that’s not “about God” he’s wasting his time or that it’s sin or something. Like he has to spend every waking moment doing something for God or talking about him, etc…or he is sinning. So of course that means he usually doesn’t show up for family functions, birthday parties, game nights with friends…cause it’s apparently sinful! It’s a really sad case….but we keep praying, we can’t change him but we’re leaving that to Our Father.

  16. Robyn April 24, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    I can totally empathize what that emailer was sharing. My little brother is a Calvinist, and is always trying to fix me and my older brother, since we believe our Father is much different than the wrathful, perfection obsessed GOD our brother would have us believe He is. We both feel discouraged when he wrangles us into these debate like conversations trying to persuade us that he’s right and we’re going to hell if we don’t start FEARING(the scary kind) GOD. We don’t like to debate him, but he loves it. We try to extend mercy and help him to see that is what our Father does for us but it usually is a losing battle so we give up, try to encourage him to just talk about our things like we used to. But he thinks anything he;s doing that’s not “about God” he’s wasting his time or that it’s sin or something. Like he has to spend every waking moment doing something for God or talking about him, etc…or he is sinning. So of course that means he usually doesn’t show up for family functions, birthday parties, game nights with friends…cause it’s apparently sinful! It’s a really sad case….but we keep praying, we can’t change him but we’re leaving that to Our Father.

  17. charo May 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I love the issue we are addressing, because not only causes discusion and division in between brothers in Christ thinking that our knwoledge or understanding about God´s word is more reliable than others, which I think is “respect of persons”; but something that I am asking God to give me understanding is about other religion such as hindus, sikhs, muslims, etc.. I had and still have the oportunity to touch their spirituality what melts me and leaves me dumb (no words)…

  18. charo May 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I love the issue we are addressing, because not only causes discusion and division in between brothers in Christ thinking that our knwoledge or understanding about God´s word is more reliable than others, which I think is “respect of persons”; but something that I am asking God to give me understanding is about other religion such as hindus, sikhs, muslims, etc.. I had and still have the oportunity to touch their spirituality what melts me and leaves me dumb (no words)…

  19. George May 11, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Living loved leads to correct doctrine, but rarely does correct doctrine lead to living loved.

    Awesome, Wayne. AA great quote.

  20. George May 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Living loved leads to correct doctrine, but rarely does correct doctrine lead to living loved.

    Awesome, Wayne. AA great quote.

Comments are closed.