Monday, April 24, 2006

12 steps toward Christlikeness

Alright. If you want some background about why I'm doing this, see the previous few posts, and feel free to ask me as well. The guts of it is this: God has invited us all to join with him in the renewal and healing of the world. Of course, the first thing he wants me to help him renew is me. (Not really my first choice.) God has highlighted (repeatedly and from all kinds of sources over the last few years) the twelve steps of AA as the means he's chosen for me and some of my friends to bring ourselves to Jesus and learn how to live anew; how to become that which God has died to create.

Below is my working version of the 12 steps, which I have modified to pursue not just a life of serenity, but life in God's will--his reign on this earth through Jesus. For those of you that are familiar with the steps, you will notice that I have changed, among other things, the verb tense from a past tense to a "present continuous" tense. This is more accurate and helpful to me, since I'm hoping to be doing all the "steps" as a lifestyle, long after the first time through, as the steps hopefully become a regular rhythm in my life. Changing the tense has made the original step ten obsolete, which I think was providential for me to be able to include a practice not among the original 12, but has been a necessary part of my (re)formation. I'm totally open to questions and feedback (even the "T, you're crazy!!" kind), including recommendations for changes. So, here they are:

In order to give ourselves fully to God's dream for us and others, we adopt the following practices:

  1. Admitting that something is wrong—in us and/or in the world at large, and that we are powerless to fix it.
  2. Coming to believe that Jesus is God's appointed Way for healing the entire universe.
  3. Turning our wills and our lives over to the care and unfolding work of God through Jesus.
  4. Making a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves (paying particular attention to our fears, our wounds, our sources of comfort and vexation, and our failures to love.)
  5. Admitting to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the contents of our inventory.
  6. Becoming entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character and to become a different person.
  7. Humbly asking Him to remove our shortcomings, to make us into his likeness, and to give us his Spirit.
  8. Making a list of all persons we have failed to love, and becoming willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Making direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Dwelling on God's loving actions toward us, and, therefore, loving God in return with all of our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength, and our neighbors as ourselves.
  11. Seeking, through prayer and whatever other means Jesus recommends, to improve our friendship with God through Christ, praying primarily for knowledge of His will for us and for his Spirit's power to carry that out.
  12. Having experienced some genuine transformation as a result of following Jesus, we gladly share Jesus with others, and let God continue to lead us in all our affairs.

Allow me to say (with AA) that I am not claiming to live up to these all the time, or even ever. This list makes my stomach flip a little to be perfectly honest, and making it public kicks it up a notch--but even that is a confirmation to me that I'm on the right track. This is a scary and exciting thing. Becoming more transparent is part of this anyway. I'm very glad I expect some company on this road. For the forseeable future, and hopefully longer, this is how I'm going to submit myself for recovery from 'normal' life, into eternal life, the kind Jesus came to bring, until further notice from the One rightfully in charge.

I feel like I'm reaching the apex of the big ascent at the start of a big roller coaster . . . I am nervous and smiling. Lord, help us!!


Kyle said...

Reading your and Mike's posts excites me. Taking this seriously is exciting and terrifying. I pray that the Spirit leads you all into fuller community with each other and with God.

miss you all.

Bethany said...

wow, those are pretty powerful. that gives me something to chew on...

Deb said...

I like what you've written. One thing you might want to consider is that in AA we also focus on the 12 Traditions (which you can easily find on-line or in the "Big Book" if you have one) The Steps are how we live individually the Traditions define how we live and work as a community. You really can't have one without the other. Without the Traditions, AA would likely not be effective. I'm probably telling you something you already know. If so, I apolgize. more thing, if you haven't already done it, read The Promises. You can find them in Chapter 6 of the "Big Book"(last paragraph on p.83 - second paragraph on p.84) I love hearing them read at every meeting.

Deb said...

Just looked at your profile and saw the Big Book listed as one of your favorite books. Very cool...

You obviously have a good handle on all of this!

T said...


Thanks for mentioning the traditions and the promises. I could write a lot about this (and probably will), but the more I think about the traditions and the gospel Jesus preached--the one about God becoming king on the earth--the more I dig, really dig, the traditions. Of course, that's the beauty of the promises too--they're about a new life now! (thank God).

Monica said...

T, I love this! Once again, God uses your words to impact my life. Thanks so much! Blessings, Monica