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When I was a “lad” and a newish Christian I remember asking God for wisdom, what I now think of as “spiritual intelligence.” People who endure Ds and C-s throughout school perhaps pray for wisdom to escape the tyranny of grades. And I figured out that I was given this gift because what others did and said that seemed so crazy, stupid and out of sync.
It might be easier to see SI from the perspective of spiritual un-intelligence or un-wisdom. One pastor used to say, “I believe, because I believe, because I believe” and on and on until any opposition or question evaporated. Hmmm. Another religious friend would reason through his emotions. If something felt right, then it must be. If the worship was loud with great bass, then God was present. That kind of thing.
So what is spiritual intelligence? Mostly it is wisdom. SI depends upon reason and will and most importantly decision-making rather than acquiescence. The spiritually intelligent person uses thoughtful analysis before making choices. Reason usually trumps emotion for the SI person. Intuition is important and emotional responses are essential, but the spiritually intelligent person thinks first or, at least, second. At one time Christians were the “thinkers” of the culture but somewhere along the way we became “believers” and something was lost for the church and for culture.
Here are some spiritual intelligent questions I want to ask you. Responses will take time because thinkers take time.
#1 What are you doing to create your own hell?
#2 When do you feel most like a victim?
#3 How do you decide to decide when you can’t decide?
#4 Can you say “no” to what you think is a call from God?
#5 Does the inclusiveness of the good news include you at your worst, your gay friends at their best, your disabled brother, your heartless neighbour, Mormons?
Now these aren’t the best questions. These are just thinking questions. When you read a book on theology or watch 60 Minutes or are a participant in a conversation, ask questions that few others would ask. Write questions in the margins of your bible, not conclusions. In sermons, figure out 3 questions and don’t look for what you agree with or what you believe, and ask the questions out loud to someone who might be thinking too.
Spiritually intelligent people are not addicted to being right or to winning an argument. They are interested in learning, wondering, thinking, hoping and dealing with life.