Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How Big is Your Spiritual Fish?

When I was preparing my Sunday School Lesson plan somewhere around the turn of the century, there emerged in my mind a visual of two arcs; the Human Domain as a downward cupped arc and the Spiritual Domain as an upward cupped arc.  The graphic illustrates this concept.  

What struck me was that where the Human and Spiritual Domains overlap there is a Fish outline.  Reflecting upon this, the concept of a Spiritual Fish evolved. There is an ebb and flow of the size of this fish; large when we have a close relationship with God and small when we have a distant relationship with God. The question is “How big is your Spiritual Fish?”

Around 2001 I shared this diagram with my 11 year old grandson, Travis Camp.  While we were walking over a sandy loam field on the family farm in South Carolina, I sketched the fish outline where two arcs overlapped and described to him the concept of a spiritual fish.  He grabbed the drawing stick and started running sketching a large fish which was probably about 10-15 feet in length.  He said “Grandpa that is your spiritual fish!”  I was blown away by his response, which I have treasured every since. 

These are some ways I have found useful to express the concept of Spiritual Fish:

·         As a farewell - “Have a Big Spiritual Fish week!”

·         Welcoming – “I hope you have had a Big Spiritual Fish Week!”

·         When inquiring about a person’s spiritual situation - “How Big is your Spiritual Fish?”

·          After attending a memorial service - “They must have been a Big Spiritual Fish person!”
The size of a fish can be expressed as a mathematical function as alpha = function (prayer, worship, love, service ....). 

I am greatly appreciative of two items which I have received related to the Spiritual Fish.  The picture shows a fish made from nails which I carry on my key chain and fish shaped candies.  These were given to me by special friends.

During my visit to the Ukraine in 2004 I discovered a fish symbol over the door of a Kiev homeless children’s ministry center (see graphic).
These are a few of the approximately 20,000 homeless street children that were receiving the love and care of the UCCC Ministry Center for Kiev Street Children.  It was rewarding to experience the work of dedicated Christians caring for the children.  Our team from Greensboro, NC were one of many teams that were volunteering on the Village of Hope project to build a facility that will enable these children to have a home environment and get an education.  The facility was a restoration of an old Communist Youth training Camp on a beautiful 17 acre tract of stately pines.   CBF of North Carolina has information on this project on their website.

While on the Ukraine trip I had the opportunity to share the Spiritual Fish with several people.  It is a metaphor that gives a new dimension to the experience of Spiritual Faith.

In October 2004 a presentation “SIN à HEAVEN” in the Christian tradition was shared with the Southeast Baptist Youth. This is available as a Power Point Presentation and as a PDF document with 6 slides per page. It discusses SIN-ACTS, How Big is your Fish, and SINàHEAVEN. The graphic shows the concept of a spiritual fish, spiritual destinations and the critical decision point. 

A previous blog SIN vs ACTS discusses the Selfish Insensitive Nature (SIN) as related to the spiritual perspective as well the business perspective.   If we exclude or ignore the Customer, Nature or Others in our thinking it seems this is the Selfish Insensitive Nature dominating. However, if we include the Customer, Nature or Others in our thinking then Service will dominate.

Later the youth gave a demonstration which is included in the power point presentation as a post script.  They used two facing chairs and a board to demonstrate the crossing over from unsaved to saved condition.

It is hoped this new way of thinking outside the box will be beneficial to the reader. Feedback is welcomed.

May you have many Big Spiritual Fish experiences!

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