Monday, May 12, 2014
Not quite book review--Part 1: The Spiritual Man, by Watchman Nee (first 28 pages)
A few weeks ago, I went to an estate sale, and picked up a copy of Watchman Nee's The Spiritual Man. I had a copy back in the 1970's when I was in college. That was one published in three volumes, and one of the three got lost over the years. Probably more importantly, I was going to an institutional church* of one of the centuries old denominations, so, now looking back, I am not surprised that I really couldn't get into the book and follow along with much of what Nee was saying. Further, as I look back, I tend to lean toward the intellectualistic side, and this book is specifically not written in that direction. Anyway, a few days ago, I started in on it again. I know that, since I have started writing this blog, book reviews appear to be one of the types of writings that get the most views. At about 650 pages, given that I can only read a few pages at a time, I'm not sure if I'll ever get through this. So, I figure that it may be best to make some comments about it as I read along, now coming from the view of having been much of my life in a western institutional church, and a few years outside of it and in a church, in the sense of an informal group that meets without corporation or agenda, other that to encourage one another in Jesus. As the name implies so much that one might miss it, such as missing the forest for the trees, the idea behind the book is to explain about being a spiritual person, as opposed to one living either on one's emotions or intellect. As I grew up as a believer around intellectual ones, and around extremely few emotionalistic ones (I got a couple of decades of opportunity to do that between then and now), I'm not sure I could have even understood what a Spirit-led balance between the two was, although I am sure along the line I have gotten the chance to walk along, or at least cross paths, with such examples. I was thrown off the original time I read it by the use of a word unique to this book, “soulical”. Realizing now that this book was originally written in one of the Chinese languages and much later translated into English, I am guessing that that language had a word for the proper qualities of the soul (soulical) and one for man whose life is dominated by his soul (soulish). I may be wrong, but after, in the last few years learning of words in the Bible translated in such a way that it fits the western religious status quo, as opposed to expressing the proper word for the context of a passage, I would be surprised if I was wrong (and I'm sure I'll write a blog if I find such out). The very beginning deals with an explanation of the terms “body, soul, and spirit”. More later. * Institutional church: what is thought of as church here in the western world, which usually includes a building or buildings, a meeting on the weekend that follows somewhat to exactly the same pattern every or almost every time, being legally formed as a corporation with special tax benefits, and one specific person who is seen as being the head of the organization, and usually gives one or more speeches weekly, provides a guiding plan as to what the organization does and does not do, and oftentimes gets a salary to do this, and the organization regularly collecting money to do all these things. I grew up seeing this as normal; I now see all these, albeit not prohibited in scripture, not in any way directed in scripture.