The Divine Conspiracy

Thursday, May 18, 2023

(click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

The Divine Conspiracy

This very familiar title, of a book written by Dallas Willard, opens my ears to surprises from my even more familiar Bible. Dallas Willard died 10 years ago, after decades of philosophy professorship at USC and even more decades as a writer, preacher and teacher at churches and conferences. His books, especially this one are masterpieces of insight and inspiration.

Jesus said to his disciples, “A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.” And his disciples asked each other, “What does mean by this?”

Jesus asks us to become co-conspirators with him as we move out of what Dallas calls our apprenticeship. Although we were created to take dominion over the earth, “we are meant to exercise our rule only in union with God, as he acts with us. He intended to be our constant companion in this creative enterprise. In fact, that is what his love for us means in practical terms.

We are often less occupied with flora and fauna, and more with other people. “God’s grubby people,” Dallas calls us. The beatitudes cover multitudes of sinners, including me of course, all of the …

“hopeless blessables” and the seriously crushed. The flunk-outs and drop-outs and burned-outs. The broke and the broken. The drug heads and the divorces. The HIV-positive and the herpes-ridden. The brain-damaged, the incurably ill. The barren and the pregnant too-many-times or at the wrong time. The overemployed, the underemployed, the unemployed. The unemployable. The swindled, the shoved aside, the replaced. The parents with children living on the side of the street, the children with parents not dying in the ‘rest’ home. The lonely, the incompetent, the stupid. The emotionally starved or emotionally dead. Even the moral disasters will be received by God as they come to rely on Jesus, count on him, and make him their companion in his kingdom. Murderers and child-molesters. The brutal and the bigoted. Drug lords and pornographers. War criminals and sadists. Terrorists. The perverted and the filthy and the filthy rich.

If our Christian community is “totally nice, that is a sure sign something has gone wrong.” We are all in this together.

What do we do as co-conspirators? We practice the spiritual disciplines. “There has been abuse and misunderstanding of these, no doubt, but the power of solitude, silence, meditative study,prayer, sacrificial giving, service, and so forth as disciplines is simply beyond question … Spiritual disciplines do not dispense with grace; they accentuate, mobilize and potentialize grace. Grace and discipline are not exclusive, but complimentary.”

Dallas once said that Jesus is the smartest person who ever lived. Of course he was, although rarely do we think of Jesus like that.

We do not know what he means. Jesus knew they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing with one another what I said?”

When I do think of Jesus as the smartest person who ever lived, then I want to learn from him about everything I think about and everything I do. Which means I stop acting so busy with my own agenda and spend a lot more time with him (see paragraph above).

 (Acts 18, Psalm 98, John 14, John 16)

(posted at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top