Moving in the Spirit


The Welcome to Grandpa’s Woods

On Saturday My Joy and I were invited to a picnic in Grandpa’s Woods for former members of the Kern Road Mennonite Church. After the picnic I sat with several senior men who reminisced about old cars. I asked one of them when he began to learn so much about cars. He replied that he grew up in his father’s garage.

My followup question was how did he become a minister. He told me of the influence of a stint overseas, the advice of J. C. Wenger, assignment with a large church that was fussing (about to split), ordination, and seven years of study in the Goshen College Bible department. He is writing his life story for his grandchildren. Perhaps it should be published for all to read.


A prayer posted in Grandpa’s garden

I’m intrigued by life stories. On my kindle, I have read “Longing for Home” by Frederick Buechner, “Lost in America, A Journey with My Father,” by Sherwin B. Nuland, “How I became an Atheist who Believes in God” by Francis Shaeffer, “Faith Unraveled, How a Girl who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions,” by Rachel Held Evans, and now I am reading, “Just Jesus, My Struggle to Become Human,” by Walter Wink.

I first learned of Walter Wink as a scholar who wrote books about “the powers” that were studied in seminaries.  Sojourners Magazine introduced Wink to me as a political and social activist who promoted nonviolence as a strategy for peaceful change.


My Joy and others at the picnic

“Just Jesus” is the last of Wink’s books written while he was fading away during the onset of Lewy Body Dementia.  When memory of a word or event eluded him he walked till the thought came back to him and then he would rush to his study to record it. Transformation of himself and society was the goal of Wink’s life.

What he meant by struggling to become human is carefully explained by Wink within an exposition of Ezekiel’s first chapter where Ezekiel is shown a complex vision of god’s glory. This segment describing activity below an expanse fascinated me:

When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved;
When the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose.
herever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, Because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels


Old fashioned lighting, the electricity was off

Old fashioned lighting, the electricity was off

When the creatures moved, they also moved;
When the creatures stood still, they also stood still;
When the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them,
Because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.  (From Ezekiel 1:19, 20)

Wink was captivated by the vision of a man elevated above the expanse. He understood this to represent all that we as humans are meant to be. When Wink struggled to be human, he was struggling to be like that human. He argues that if man/woman is the image of God, then God must be marvelously human-like.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
This entry was posted in Church, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Moving in the Spirit

  1. Miriam says:

    This one fascinates me and has me opening my bible to a not-oft-referenced book. The vision described also reminds me of the vision sometimes described by persons with profound dissociative abilities / dissociative disorders. A view from above. The connection of spirit and action, big-picture wisdom and good works. I’m reminded of Julie Gold’s lyrics, made famous by Bette Midler (apologies for the length):

    “From A Distance”

    From a distance the world looks blue and green,
    and the snow-capped mountains white.
    From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
    and the eagle takes to flight.

    From a distance, there is harmony,
    and it echoes through the land.
    It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace,
    it’s the voice of every man.

    From a distance we all have enough,
    and no one is in need.
    And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
    no hungry mouths to feed.

    From a distance we are instruments
    marching in a common band.
    Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace.
    They’re the songs of every man.
    God is watching us. God is watching us.
    God is watching us from a distance.

    From a distance you look like my friend,
    even though we are at war.
    From a distance I just cannot comprehend
    what all this fighting is for.

    From a distance there is harmony,
    and it echoes through the land.
    And it’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves,
    it’s the heart of every man.

    It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves.
    This is the song of every man.
    And God is watching us, God is watching us,
    God is watching us from a distance.
    Oh, God is watching us, God is watching.
    God is watching us from a distance.

  2. Thanks for the poem, Miriam. I hope to write more about Wink’s understanding of God as Man. He makes much of the phrase, “The son of The Man,” which he believes is a more accurate translation found mostly in Ezekiel and in the Gospels when Jesus refers to himself. Will welcome your insights when appropriate and you have time. Summer is closing for scholars. This is Diana’s birthday. She is my granddaughter and is now My Joy’s step-granddaughter. Joyce doesn’t like the “step.” Diana will return to Florida in two weeks. Her mother is on the USF faculty so she and her brother will return to a new house and school in Tampa.

  3. Miriam says:

    Thanks, Martin. I’ll be looking forward to the Son of Man analysis.
    Thanks for the info about grandkids, too. Didn’t realize we were neighbors!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.