Original photo from Brian Talbot
In the natural world, there is a phenomenon called parthenogenesis.
Parthenogenesis is the process where an organism asexually reproduces due to environment or lack of a mating partner. Commonly known as cloning. Rather than having an egg from one parent and sperm from the other, certain organisms can simply duplicate their cells to create exact copies of themselves.
This is possible in a number of invertebrates and insects like aphids and water fleas. It has also been known to happen in some amphibians and reptiles. Komodo Dragons even.
Although this is a tremendous feat that sci-fi movies have tried to duplicate for years, it’s not the most effective form of reproduction.
Asexual reproduction robs the new organism of diversity and variation. Because standard sexual reproduction incorporates the inherited genetic code of two different parents, the offspring has the chance to integrate both sets of successful DNA. In theory, the offspring is stronger and more fit than both parents.
Think of this in Christian Formation. We know we are being formed by something: our families, friends, interests, studies, etc. Everything in the world around us shapes how we think and live.
If we spent our whole lives only taking in one teaching or strain of thought, we would only be as effective as that one idea can be. This would be the equivalent of spiritual parthenogenesis. Not bad, yet there is a better way.
Now, imagine if we were to take on as many ideas, teachings, and experiences as possible. It would strengthen our understanding and ability to think about the world around us.
In Christian formation we are learning to think and see the world as Jesus would. We must realize that not everyone perceives life in the same way.
“There are as many denominations as there are Christians in the world” – Dallas Willard.
No one author, speaker, preacher, or idea has the exhaustive understanding of the depth of Christ’s revelation of his holy and glorious Abba. We are strengthened as we encounter various ideas and thoughts, ultimately submitting to our master teacher, the Christ.
We are in need of dedicated Christ followers who understand more than their particular Sunday morning experience. We need Christians who understand how the good news shared around the world impacts all of humanity.
We have the opportunity to glean as much knowledge as we can about the environments and people around us, and with the Holy Spirit alive in us, help His kingdom come on earth as it is in the Heavens.
Mike Clifford holds a bachelor’s degree in zoological sciences from Friends University, and a master’s in organizational development. He is the curator for the Christian Spiritual Formation Undergraduate program at the Apprentice Institute and he also leads worship, teaches workshops, and creates and implements partnerships with churches and various organizations. You can hear Mike speak at both NYWC Sacramento and NYWC Atlanta!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.