Three Dimensional Discipleship

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We are three dimensional beings. When we flatten that dimensionality – say, for example, in a photograph – something important is lost. We’ve all seen cardboard cut-out pictures of people. No matter how realistic the picture, it’s easy to distinguish the real person from the façade. So it is with our discipleship.

Human beings are made to love God and neighbor in the full dimensionality of their being. We are to do so with a keen mind, a passionate heart and a courageous will. These three dimensions – mind, heart and will – are hard to engage in an integrated way. It is easy to focus on one or even two of the dimensions and neglect the other(s).

Any one or two dimensions alone results in a distortion – a caricature – of our discipleship. A passionate heart and a courageous will without a keen mind becomes religious fanaticism.   A keen mind and a courageous will without a passionate heart becomes manipulative orthodoxy. A keen mind and a passionate heart without a courageous will becomes impotent idealism.

Reading Augustine’s Confessions, I’m reminded it is possible to engage all three dimensions simultaneously in our discipleship. Augustine modeled, however imperfectly, someone who wrestled with loving God and neighbor with all his heart, mind and will in the context of his work. His example encourages me to do the same.

Uli lives and works in the intersection between business, the academy and the church. He has a PhD in computer science and has built his own software company. He has served as past Board Chair of Regent College in Vancouver, BC, as Vice Chair of the Board of the Max De Pree Leadership Center at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, and as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Center for Integrity in Business at Seattle Pacific University. He has also been involved in all aspects of local church leadership at John Knox Presbyterian Church, in Seattle.

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