More on cross-training

July 25, 2003

[gymnast in the air]I fleshed out our group’s “what” pages by giving credit to Richard Foster for the five areas of spiritual growth, and adding this quote:

We are a little like the gymnast who can excel in the floor exercise, the balance beam, and the parallel bars but who cannot compete on the high bar and the vaulting horse. Such a person is simply not very balanced in gymnastic skills. Likewise, we are imbalanced and ineffective if we excel in, say, evangelism and prayer but lack holiness of life and compassion for the poor. Each tradition — even our favorite one — will throw us out of balance if it is all we know. Balance comes when we strive to learn from all five, when we recognize their importance, and when we set out to make them a part of our lives.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

3 responses to More on cross-training

  1. i don’t disagree at all, but at the same time i can’t think of it like that, because i can’t imagine myself as a competent gymnast. i am doomed to fall off, over and over again, and will forever be able to look on the gifted and capablye “gymnasts” with wonder and envy. if i think about trying to keep balance between all these things, i sit on the balance beam, hanging on for dear life, afraid to move.
    for me it is more about seasons and cycles, failure and trying again and again. in this struggle, “balance” is like a world in a foreign language.

  2. Michael, the issue is not about how gifted and capable we are compared to anyone else. For me personally, looking at the five areas and asking myself how balanced I am has revealed a serious deficiency in the area of compassion and social justice — deficient, that is, compared to my experience in the other areas. I am grounded in the Scriptures and can share my faith, I can hear God supernaturally, I have experienced freedom from sin, I can feel God’s nearness. But visiting the sick, the hungry, those in prison — these are completely outside of my experience. (Never mind doing my part for racial healing!)
    So the quickest, easiest way for me to grow spiritually is by focusing on the area(s) in which I am weakest. Even baby steps will be a big thing for me.

  3. Richard Foster, eh? Good choice!