Dallas Willard comes to Gordon

Dallas is coming to Gordon this week. I am stoked. I value the work Willard is doing on spiritual formation and think it is very insightful and a bit abrasive. He has essentially moved away from a Freudian understanding of id, ego, and superego, and in its place provided a more integrative and holistic approach to understanding the essence of a person (adapted from Husserl). I have been leading a book study on one of his texts with another professor and some Resident Assistants, and today we entered into a fascinating discussion. Willard believes that there are several components to a person, and each of the components makes up the soul. One of the components is thoughts/will which, when taken together, translates into action. Our discussion centered around the phrase, echoed so often in evangelical circles, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” If I understand Willard correctly, there is no way possible to separate actions from the self, and therefore this phrase does not work! As you can imagine this caused some great distress among the students (even me!) in the group. In fact, one commented afterward that his brain had been “Ninja’d.”Obviously, a view like this requires a bit of redirection in terms of relationships. And I wonder, am I bold enough to carry this through? Are other Christians? It is a trail I will continue to go down, despite the turns ahead that I can’t see just yet. Who knows where it will lead…  

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1 comment so far

  1. Aj on

    How fun to hear him! I appreciate what you said about getting away from the Freudian view of self. It reminds me of a parenting book my mom just gave me to review (she’s teaching a parenting class at Rose Valley and wondered what I thought): it’s called “Teaching by the Book”, and the author thinks the whole id/ego focus on self thing has been the worst thing ever. I’ve barely read it, but it certainly is different than most parenting book fodder, such as Unconditional Parenting (basically “don’t interfere with the natural process!). Interesting times.


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