Mark Yaconelli has been extremely influential in the way that I operate the youth ministry in which I serve. His work with the Youth Ministry and Spirituality project has been a great contribution to today’s conversation around youth ministry. Needless to say, this seminar, The Dark Night of the Soul, was really exciting for me to be able to attend. Here’s some things I wrote down during it.
- Mother Theresa’s book, Come be my Light: deals with her experiences in relationship to God during her time in Calcutta.
- Characteristics of the Dark Night of the Soul:
- IT ISN’T: an experience of misfortune, restricted to saints and mystics, or necessarily unpleasant
- IT IS: a time when Jesus becomes silent, an experience where God feels absent, dry and empty prayer (with a loss of a desire to pray), Scripture turns to dust, lonliness (no sense of God), loss of control, loss of words, feelings of hypocrisy, painful
- YET: something in you is still longing for God. And, even though you don’t feel a vibrant relationship with God, sin is also unsatisfying. You cannot get rid of your faith.
- So what is happening? We don’t know 🙂
- your life with God is changing and its happening in secret; in secret even from you. God is working while you are ignorant.
- spiritual disciplines can make God smaller than he actually is. We cannot control our own Spiritual lives. Your growth is not due to you.
- So, how do we live through this?
- Trust that God is closer than our words (even closer than our breathing and heartbeat ~Augustine).
- Be honest about the darkness we feel – praying for tears.
- Let go of the false sense of who we are.
- Lean on others during this time.
- Respond to your inner intuition to trust the darkness.
Then on my notes I actually have an idea to write a theology of youth ministry and evangelism/discipleship based on the Song of Songs. Probably wouldn’t sell, but it would be an interesting exercise.