Spiritual growth isn’t an instantaneous activity that can be marked on a daily chart. It happens a bit at a time, gradually, but you don’t see it each day.
Today I read where an old friend died of pancreatic cancer. Denny was not someone I was particularly close to, we had only a handful of conversations. The ones we had were at important times in my walk with Christ.
I first met him about thirty some years ago at the Tulsa Workshop. We were standing at a booth he was manning, promoting an idea he had for Image magazine. I had been toying with the idea of a magazine as well, along the same lines but not nearly as well developed as his concept. We spoke for 45 minutes, while Janet wandered off to other booths.
I was frustrated spiritually. I knew that some of the approaches that I had used with Scripture that reduced it to a rule book were failing me. Reading the Bible as a book full of rules that unlocked a hidden code had failed me. It left it lifeless and powerless, needing my intellectual energy to empower it to free me. That wasn’t going to work.
I was reading the Scriptures as letters now, one disciple writing others, telling them about the journey, offering encouragement to keep moving forward. It was refreshing to me, hopeful, personal. I described it to Denny and he shook his head knowingly.
Our conversation was a mutual exchange, one person talking about a change in vision, the other excitingly taking up where the first left off. We both knew that most of what we read didn’t reflect this vision, I wasn’t sure how it could change.
We spoke a handful of other times, seldom seeing each other. I would read his publication, sometimes agreeing, other times shaking my head. What surprised me was how when we did speak, the conversation just continued from where we left off.
Today is the first time I’ve ever thought of it. In some way those conversations were mile markers in my spiritual journey. I have other friends who have served the same purpose for me. A few, very few.
Today I acknowledge a debt to a friend, a fellow traveler on a journey toward Jesus. Denny Boultinghouse, I miss you and look forward to our chats in the new heavens and the new earth.