• Andrew Comiskey

Dignify and Deploy 28: Becoming Whole in Action

John Wimber called it ‘doing the stuff’; Karol Wojtyla heralded ‘the law of the gift.’ Launching the gift of our Spirited humanity sets us free.


On a Saturday morning gathering of 100 lay leaders, Wimber commanded all the ‘elders’ of the Vineyard Westside to come up front. Kenn Gulliksen identified 6, including me (I had never been given that title). We did as were told. Instead of clarifying our newfound status, Wimber activated us with a prayer: ‘May the Holy Spirit come upon you to help clarify the gifts and callings of your members.’ Unsure of what that meant, I simply got in the flow. I caught a wave of prophecy and wisdom and released my leadings best I could to the 15 people awaiting my ‘eldership.’


John didn’t care much for titles. We became elders by ‘doing the stuff.’

Wimber and Wojtyla taught me that I can know the good and choose it. As I do, I become that good. That has profound implications for a culture that primes people for victimhood and other self-definitions based on wounded emotions and disordered desires rather than on who the Father says we are.


Wojtyla goes further. Yes, know the good of your beloved status. But we must act on that status if we are to realize its truth. In his groundbreaking philosophical work ‘Person and Act,’ Wojtyla seeks the narrow way between moral idealism and authentic experience by highlighting moral action as the core of a person. When we choose the good and act on it, we come into wholeness: body, soul, and spirit.


That’s what Theology of the Body (TOB) did for me. While acknowledging lust as a part of me that I could surrender and restrain, John Paul’s tome activated my primary call as a lover of woman, one in particular. TOB inspired me to realize my most authentic self by loving her! When I do that, in rapturous feelings one day, pure act of will on another, I become more real. Loving Annette strengthens my masculine core; action amplifies the echo of Eden from my depths.


Human ‘gifts’ remain sealed unless given. We can act. When we refuse that invitation, we refuse wholeness. I want to be free! And I have a say in that freedom. That’s why we can and must forego defining a ‘self’ on the sum of our abuses and addictions and residual lusts.


Unnecessary labels block freedom to act. And act we can. You don’t need the label ‘elder’ to act like one. Right action makes us heroic.


‘We are not accidents of biochemistry or history, adrift in the cosmos. We can, as moral actors, become the protagonists, not the victims, of the drama of life.’ (George Weigel on Wojtyla’s ‘Person and Act')


“Thank You Jesus for changing us as we obey You. You know what we need to do to become who we are. We are especially grateful for the witness of Eden in our bones that no sin or demon can destroy. Help us to listen and heed its stirring in how we love the other. Come Holy Spirit, liberate what is true and beautiful from what debases us. May we not settle but aspire to the dignity of our sexual humanity. May we grow into ‘mature expressions of the gift’ by helping others do the same. Deployed to dignify, we ‘harness the John force.’”

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