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Dallas Willard


I just learned that the Christian philosopher/theologian and brilliant writer Dallas Willard died earlier this week, and so I'd like to do something a little different today and that is thank God for Dallas' life and influence.  

Dallas Willard's best known book is The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in Christ, which I first read about ten years ago, and have re-read parts of again and again. I once taught an entire Adult Forum series on that book alone.

I've also enjoyed reading his Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ, and The Spirit of Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, and most recently, I worked most of the way through his The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus' Essential Teachings on Discipleship.

Buy and read his books, please, but to pique your interest, the subtitles tell you just about everything.: Dallas Willard was all about rediscovering our hidden life in Christ. He was passionate about putting on the character of Christ. He wanted us to understand how God changes lives. And he dedicated a lot of his career to reclaiming Jesus' essential teachings on discipleship.

Buy and read his books, please, but fair warning: some of what he says is tough sledding. He doesn't write bumper-sticker theology. That's part of what makes him so refreshing, I think...but it also means you have to take your time reading him.
 
Buy and read his books, please, but in the meantime, for today, let me share one of his teachings from The Divine Conspiracy:
 
In Colossians, Paul experienced Jesus beyond his ability to forgive sin. He saw Jesus as one positioned to know the mysteries of the universe and the keys to all knowledge, both seen and unseen. In what areas are you unaccustomed to viewing Jesus as an authoritative expert? Does he know about geology? Nuclear physics? Human relations? Finance?  
 
Do I regard Jesus as a sufficient guide in this area?
 
Do I believe Jesus really has "all wisdom and knowledge" about everything as Colossians declares?
 
In what ways do I have confidence in Jesus to guide me in those areas of life?
 
In what ways do I not have confidence in Jesus about those areas?

And: 

One of Dallas Willard's chief frustrations with our culture is that "in our culture, what is trivial is thought to be profound, and what is profound is thought to be boring."

Our culture says "All I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten." What scripture teaches is "I don't know what I need to know and I must now devote my full attention and strength to finding out."

What our culture teaches is, "Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty." What our faith teaches is "practice routinely purposeful acts of kindness and intelligent acts of beauty."
 
What our culture teaches is "stand up for your rights," what Christianity teaches is "stand up for your responsibilities."
 
How, he asks, do these "cute wisdom" slogans starve the "need of the soul"?



You see what I mean by tough sledding? But a breath of fresh air?



Rest in Peace, Dallas. 

I hear God saying to you, "well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master." 

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