Living in Christ's Presence: Q&A with Dallas Willard and John Ortberg

February 2013
Dallas Willard Center - Westmont College

In February 2013, the Dallas Willard Center hosted a conference featuring Dallas Willard and John Ortberg. After each teaching session, Dallas and John sat down together to discuss the teaching further. These conversations became some of the most precious moments of the conference.

Resources

Living in Christ's Presence: Q&A with Dallas Willard and John Ortberg

This engaging Q&A session between Dallas Willard and John Ortberg delves into topics such as the true nature of joy, the spiritual significance of play, the eternal perspective on life and death, and how detachment from outcomes leads to spiritual freedom. Dallas discusses how creativity mirrors God's joyous essence and encourages us to view everyday activities through the lens of God's kingdom, where even those most mundane task can be an invitation to experience God.

Living in Christ's Presence: Q&A with Dallas Willard and John Ortberg

Highlights:

  • Joy of Detachment: John Ortberg reflects on the concept of detachment from outcomes, illustrated by a personal anecdote where, after watching Dallas giving a speech earlier in the evening, John observed Dallas singing a hymn, completely unconcerned with his performance. This attitude encapsulates living "life in the kingdom," suggesting a deep spiritual peace and joy unaffected by immediate circumstances.
  • Nature of Joy: Dallas defines joy as a "sense of pervasive well-being" that coexists with difficult circumstances, using Paul's experience of being "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" to emphasize that true joy transcends situational happiness. This understanding points to a spiritual depth where joy is rooted in a broader, divine context rather than fleeting moments.
  • Creativity as an Expression of Divine Joy:  Discussing creativity, Dallas highlights that both God and humans find joy in creative acts, whether it's crafting a physical object or engaging in artistic endeavors. He argues that the act of creation itself is an act of joy and a reflection of God's joyful nature, encouraging a reevaluation of how we perceive our daily activities as opportunities for experiencing joy.
  • Eternal Perspective on Life and Death: Dallas expounds on Jesus' teachings about eternal life, suggesting that true life begins now, in Christ's presence, and continues seamlessly beyond physical death. This perspective challenges the conventional view of death, offering comfort and a revolutionary understanding of our existence as continuous and eternally secured by God’s presence.
  • Seeking the Kingdom in Everyday Life: In discussing how to practically seek the kingdom of God, Dallas stresses the integration of spiritual awareness into all aspects of life—work, play, and relationships. By advocating for a non-legalistic approach to spiritual disciplines, he invites believers to recognize and embrace the spontaneous, joy-filled moments as opportunities to experience and manifest the kingdom of God in the mundane.