Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Use of Discipline

Way back at the start of this bloggy part of my site, I was in the process of seeking out a new church as I continued along my spiritual journey through life.  And if you've followed along, you know that I landed at Graham Friends Church.  It is really non-denominational now, but has a strong Quaker background and only in the last decade or so left the North Carolina Meeting.  About a year ago I wrote about my decision to start tithing to the church.  Unfortunately, since then I have not written much about the church or religion.  I think at least a couple times my pastor has hoped I would do some more blogging as a way to give my testimony.  So, now I'm going to do a little bit of that for what it's worth.

And what, you may ask, has prompted me to put together a post about religion?  It was prompted by a question Pastor Mark asked us in our Sunday School class this past week.  But I should back up a little bit.  Starting back in September, the class I am in started a new curriculum called Renovation of the Heart.  It was created by Dallas Willard who wrote The Spirit of the Disciplines (which I sorely need to go out and buy to start reading).  It has been a good class so far, though I think we have gotten a bit sidetracked.

It has been a good sidetrack though as Mark has been providing us some instruction on how to do some seemingly simple tasks like pray or work through daily devotions.  On the prayer issue, he was teaching us about how some people are able to spend a whole day in prayer.  As he noted, and I have to agree, praying for more than a couple minutes can become a struggle, especially with staying focused.  So one of the tools he taught us was the Benedictine method of _____________________.  To do it, you take a passage in the Bible and start working through using those methods.  As we discussed and as I am finding out in my limited attempts (so far) to employ the method, you can quickly rack up some serious time with God in prayer and studying the Bible.

We have also been discussing on several occasions some of the disciplines that Willard refers to.  These include some things like prayer, worship, reading the Bible, meditation, fellowship, ...  The question that Mark asked this past week was whether we had been able to incorporate any of the disciplines into our daily lives.  My initial reaction was "probably not", but on further reflection I think I probably am slowly starting to use many of them.

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