Monday, June 30, 2008

Westminster Abbey...

Bethan has always been at a Church School and so we have followed the church year through making the periodic trips to church to support.

Tonight was a little different. As a member of Grey Coats Hospital school for girls, Bethan's local church is Westminster Abbey.

There is something very, very special about Westminster Abbey. The architecture, the history, the organist - it combines to a special experience.

Tonight, whenever there was any applause it always started at the front and rolled back, like a Mexican wave, permission to clap almost sought from the row in front. The significance of the wave of applause that started outside the Abbey and rolled forwards at Princess Diana's funeral struck me.

I don't think anyone who has used the sentiment to explain any shift in worldview would quite 'get it' without actually feeling the really odd sensation of the rolling applause.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Living Missionally 4/4

Here is another Michael Frost measuring stick when it comes to 'missional' community. When a church community is living missionally he suggests it will be a community:

  • of heartfelt praise, not the fake mouthing of sentimental worship songs
  • of authenticity and truth, not public pretense
  • that does not live for itself, but genuinely serves others
  • of missional engagement with its host empire, not retreat into a religious ghetto
  • of mutual responsibility , not privatised religion
  • of hope, not intimidation and alienation
Frost, M. (2006:104). Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Robert Beckford...

Yesterday was a great day spent in the company of Robert Beckford, clearly someone who loves to teach and has great insights to how theology should shape what we do.

There was probably nothing new to what he had to say, but there was profound impact that moved out and beyond his content.

Here we have someone who gets hate mail from Christians who resent him challenging their presuppositions. Here we have someone who refuses to accept a glib watery theology. Someone who engages with the text in such a way that raises awkward questions. A theologian who approaches faith as something to deconstruct in order to re-build an understanding of God that is fresh and strong. Not what you would expect from someone who is proudly pentecostal.

I can't think that there was anything but challenge for those content to engage with God through what could be seen as the cosmetics of church, without through doing the hard work within the text. I can't think that there was anything but challenge for those content with doing the hard work within the text, without what could be seen as the cosmetics of church. The strength of what he had to say comes from a place in theology that can't be labelled.

I asked him whether dealing with his presuppositions had been or is painful - "not at all ... when you are secure in your faith it is exciting to be open to what is new of God, for what he wants us to enjoy is abundance of life"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Spiritual Formation resource...

There is something very appealing about the Upperroom site. I've added it to my Spiritual Formation Resource list as a site I like to visit.

The Prayer Methods in particular are worth exploring.

The Sacred Space section is there for you to develop for yourself should you wish.

Here is a snippet of the Prayer Methods section.

One of the most central and ancient practices of Christian prayer is lectio divina, or divine reading. In lectio divina, we begin by reading a few verses of the Bible. We read unhurriedly so that we can listen for the message God has for us there.
Think of the Ignatian Method -- named after Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) -- as a sort of virtual experience of the scripture where you read the scripture and then create in your mind a short film about what you read.
Psalms has been called the prayer book of the Bible in both Jewish and Christian traditions. It is a collection of sung prayers that has been used in worship from the time of ancient Israel up to the present.
Many of us were taught to close our eyes when we pray. Praying with icons is an ancient prayer practice that involves keeping our eyes wide open, taking into our heart what the image visually communicates.
The Bible contains prayers and canticles (songs) that give us words to pray and praise. Many, such as the Lord's Prayer, the Magnificat, and the Canticle of Simeon, have become part of the common prayer of the church liturgy. Yet any of these may also give voice to our own joys, yearnings and struggles.
In his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius urged that all be taught the examen, a daily examination of our deepest feelings and desires. He called these feelings our consolations (what connects us with God, others and ourselves) and desolations (what disconnects us).
Want to share your joys and concerns with the MethodX community? Post them here so we can join with you in prayers of thanksgiving, praise, confession, petition, and intercession.
So, now you know you are a Lover, Mystic, Prophet, or Sage. (If not, take the Spiritual Types Test.) Did you know that each of the spiritual types has a favorite way to pray?
Looking for clarity? Learn the Quaker way of the Clearness Committee to help with making tough decisions.