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Formation

I am in a widely celebrated class in the Graduate School of Theology called Christian Spiritual Formation. Supposedly the purpose of this class is about learning what it is to be continuously formed into the image of Jesus Christ. And being a bunch of good graduate theology students, we spend three hours every week trying to impress each other with endless knowledge of patristic writers and ancient philosophers, drawing out theological models on the board and debating the relative merits of this or that lectio devina, etc etc etc.

All the while there is a gray-haired older gentleman silently laying down sod outside in his blue-collar uniform, spending his days cleaning the plants and emptying the trash. In my observation, no one has spoken to him (maybe some do, but I haven't seen it). But I know something about this man. He was retired until he and his wife made it their mission to adopt every single one of the thirty or so students who came to ACU this year from Madagascar. These students practically live in their home. They feed them. They care for them. They transport them. They help financially provide for them. And no one, as far as I can tell, helps them. But together he and his wife provide, day in and day out, sacrificially. That is why he has had to return to work. The financial strain has been tough for them. But they love. And they love. And they love. We students and professors sit in our holes reading our 100 assigned books about spiritual formation, while the living breathing message of Christ is over in the corner wiping up the dirt.


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