Faith and relevance in the 21st century

Your spiritual DNA

I have just come back from a couple of months overseas, from which I have gained many insights which I look forward to sharing with you over the next few of months. Below is my first one. It’s good to be back.

I went to a counselor some years ago who spoke to me about what he called my spiritual DNA. What he was referring to was the sensitivity of spirit that has been handed down to us by our ancestors. Just like a parent who has blond hair and blue eyes will have a child with at least sone of the same features, so a certain sensitivity of spirit will generally be handed down through the generations.

In my case, there is a certain sense of rationalism that has been handed down. My heritage is German, and Germans are known for their sense of the importance of logic and rationality. They are known as being very efficient and sticklers for time. Just ask my wife if this is true of me and she will straight away nod her head in furious agreement.

It is crucially important that we get to know our spiritual DNA, for it will help us to understand ourselves better and therefore help us become more loving people. For me to understand that I have a penchant for the importance of logic and rationality means that I tend to be somewhat skeptical about certain faith issues. I have a scientifically based mind; it’s the way I think. So if something doesn’t make logical sense why would you do it? What I need to learn is that this often leaves out the possibility of mystery and paradox, things which abound in the Scriptures.

Others reading this may be different. You may come from an Asian background for instance, where the supernatural is just part of life, and you may need to embrace a more rational understanding of life. Something I need to realise is that a natural sensitivity towards the supernatural is how the majority of people in the world think. To a person like me, the scientific is generally seen as the ultimate way of perceiving reality. But as Rikk Watts has said, what if there is solid evidence of something happening that defies a scientific explanation? That’s history, and science has to deal with it (I have to say that such an explanation sounds quite logical to this mind!). The event Watts seems to be referring to in his explanation is the physical resurrection of Jesus. It defies scientific explanation, but if it happened, it is history, and science needs to understand that.

The goal of understanding your spiritual DNA is always to bring you closer to the heart of God. If the goal is merely greater self-understanding without any application in helping you be a more loving person, then it is a waste of time, a clanging gong as Paul famously says in 1 Corinthians 13. Lord help me to understand my roots and see what has shaped me in becoming the person I am today, so that I may better serve you and your world.

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  1. Scott Rainey

    A fascinating thought, spiritual DNA, one that I’ve never considered before. I come from “hillbilly” stock – my parents were both born and raised in the backcountry of Tennessee during the hardscrabble times of the Great Depression. I tend to see things in terms of practicality – a “how best can I solve this problem?” sort of thing that permeates all I do. I’m always trying to solve a problem, even if there isn’t one there. I can see how this relates to my relationship with Christ, too – I expend a great deal of spiritual energy trying to “solve” a perceived problem, when the reality is I need to depend much, much more upon God’s grace. A good friend of mine I knew in California used to have a personalized version of Psalm 46:10 taped to the center of his steering wheel. It read, “Ian, be still and know that I am God.” I could certainly do with remembering that!

    Our spiritual DNA, as you put it, is an interesting approach to understanding our humanity. Parts of that DNA I would love to recombine, while other parts are quite pleasing. I guess that’s His work, though, isn’t it?

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