A few days a go I wrote about a correspondence with a friend, in which we agreed about not holding back Jesus' extremely challenging message from those broken and needy people who want to follow him. I've been thinking about that some more.

My friend also said that, to help some people avoid being overwhelmeded or discouraged by the height of the goal, it may be important to help them just focus on their next step in life. That brought to mind again the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. They do a good job of breaking down the daunting journey of spiritual conversion into clear and focused steps, and urge patience and thoroughness in taking each step. That's been very helpful for many people.

There's a couple things I want to adjust a bit, though. The 12 steps do a good job at starting with faith (steps 1-3), then focus mostly on repentance (steps 4-10). I'd like to add emphasis on spiritual growth (step 11). And lots more emphasis on seeking and dedicating ourselves to God's calling for our own lives; step 12 touches on that (and 3 lays the foundation for it), but it's pretty much limited to helping others with similar addictions. God's calling for each of us is much more than that, involving relationships, work, finances, interactions with the society around us, etc. And radical dependence on God goes hand in hand with seeking and obeying his will, his calling, for our lives. We can't have one without the other. "Seek his kingdom and all these things will be yours as well."