Archives For Dallas Willard

Yesterday we learned that Dallas Willard passed away from cancer. While Willard’s day job was as a professor of philosophy at USC, he will be remembered for his writings on spiritual formation and discipleship. For those who met him, he will also be remembered for living up to what he taught.

I first encountered Willard’s writings in 2005, while I was undergoing that great personal transformation that most recent college graduates must endure. I was asked to help a church better understand the tangible ideas of discipleship that he expresses in The Spirit of the Disciplines. I went on to devour Renovation of the Heart and eventually The Divine Conspiracy. I now try to read one of them once a year.

I never had the chance to meet Dr. WIllard in person. It was heartbreaking to find out he wouldn’t be joining us at Missio Alliance this past month. Now we understand why. However, everyone who did meet him mentioned that he seemed just like he did in his writings, brilliant yet approachable, even grandfatherly.

This blog, in many ways, is inspired by his writings.

Here are five life shaping ideas I learned from Dallas.

Continue Reading…

It is a tragic error to think that Jesus was telling us, as he left, to start churches, as that is understood today. From time to time, starting a church may be appropriate. But his aim for us is much greater than that. He wants us to establish “beachheads” or bases of operation for the Kingdom of God wherever we are. In this way God’s promise to Abraham—that in him and in his seed all peoples of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3)—is carried forward toward its realization. The outward effect of this life in Christ is perpetual moral revolution, until the purpose of humanity on earth is completed.

Dallas WIllard, The Great Omission.
Read as part of the MAGL.

Dallas Willard doesn’t want us to Plant Churches

Missio Alliance is the brainchild of the Ecclesia Network.  It is a much needed effort to provide a theological framework for how to be the church in a 21st Century, Post-Christendom America.  It features a few speakers who have radically shaped who I am and how I think, most prevalently, Dallas Willard and Scot McKnight.  Other participants include my church’s own Gideon Tsang and one of my incredible Fuller MAGL professors Shelley Trebesch.  Beside’s world-class content, here are the other two reasons I can’t wait: Continue Reading…

While I was meeting with my MAGL cohort in Colorado Springs, we talked a lot about books.  Since books and audiobooks are such a big part of my life, a classmate suggested I create a reading list.  This series will tackle that question.

If you could read only one book about Jesus, it should be The Divine Conspiracy. Dallas Willard masterfully explains the core topic of Jesus teachings, The Kingdom of God, and how we are to respond to them.

The book begins with a discussion of the very idea of a kingdom, how we each have our own, and what it means for God to have one.  At it’s most basic, the Kingdom of God is “the dome under which God is King.”  He then goes on to explain that if Jesus is God, he is also the smartest person that ever lived.  He also explains that Jesus teachings were meant to be taken as serious ethical directions for individuals and societies.  The majority of the book works through Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.

What makes Willard’s writing so meaningful is that he is a foremost a highly astute philosopher.  Yet despite his intellectual prowess, the majority of his teaching is based in the belief that we can, and should do what Jesus said. He shows how very simple, yet difficult, it is to live in the kingdom of God.

Divine Conspiracy is on my vert short list of almost yearly reads.  When I read it, I feel like I am finally seeing who Jesus is, and how his teachings were meant to change our lives and the world.

You can find The Divine Conspiracy here in paperback, digital, and audio.


MAGL Spring Reading List

Chris —  March 11, 2011

Today in the mail a bunch of new friends came.  They’ll be hanging out with me for the next two months as I prepare for two weeks of  Masters of Arts of Global Leadership classes through Fuller Theological seminary.  They are:

Community of Character by Stanley Hauerwas.  When I first read Hauerwas’s The Peaceable Kingdom it sent me down a path that has defined much of my thinking ever since.  I’m super excited for more.

Experiencing the Trinity by Darrell Johnson.

Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard.  I’ve been through this once before on audio.  Anyone who I’ve ever talked to about books knows that there’s no one I hold in higher esteem that Willard.

Spiritual Direction by Henri Nouwen.  I’m not sure how I’ve made it this far in life without reading Nouwen.  Time to change that

The Ascent of a Leader by Thrall, McNichol and McElrath.  Leadership books always inspire me toward greater focus.

Spiritual Leadership by Blackaby.

The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, by Phillip Jenkins.  More of a sociological study for the “Global” in MAGL.

Announcing the Kingdom by Glasser, Van Engen and Redford.  Written by the Fuller Missions staff, this looks to be the heaviest theological work I’ll be doing this quarter.

Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission by Lesslie Newbigin (not pictured). As I’ve said before, Newbigin is responsible for launching much of the conversation in the Church today.  This will be important.

Time to get to work!