I never had the chance to meet Dallas Willard and I’m really sad about that now that he’s passed away. On the other hand, I feel like I know him in a way that many folks do, through his writing and other teaching resources. They’ve been a source of great help to me, especially as I have tried to better understand what being a student of Jesus really looks like. Dallas Willard had an insight into the inner life that few share…I found it wonderfully disturbing at times.
In February of 2006 I picked up The Divine Conspiracy for the first time…I had no idea what I was in for. Published in 1997, the book took a while to catch on (though it did receive high honors), but as my friends and I began to consider the wisdom inside a nagging truth became apparent…none of us were in communities of faith that took Jesus this seriously. After all, as the subtitle of the book states, this was about rediscovering our hidden life in God…who wants to talk about that? In this way, the book has a prophetic element. Willard was writing this book during the mega-church, marketed spirituality, boom days…he saw what was coming.
I’m of course not even mentioning his other books, The Great Omission, Knowing Christ Today, Renovation of the Heart, etc. They are all helpful tools in helping one find the proper inner life with God. He wrote, “in a different time zone” outside of the hurry that leads to spiritual emptiness. You have to read Willard and read it again, and then, dare I say it…think.
For those of us who longed to become serious students of Jesus (disciples), his writing was a drink of cool water in an arid desert.