I am going to investigate the sources of an article I read last week. I will let you know how it comes out. Informed decisions are the best decisions.
Archives for January 2004
I wrote this a couple of weeks ago after finishing, Mudhouse Sabbath.
January 19 –
Just finished reading “Mudhouse Sabbath” by Lauren Winner. She takes a number of Jewish practices and considers ways they might enhance the practice of Christianity.
Several selections gain my attention. The chapter on prayer. The practice of liturgical prayer, though often “dull and boring” seems to keep one’s focus on God. Winner admits attempts at spontaneous prayer did not find her praying more but rather less.
I wonder if results from a sense of freedom from “form” which creates the environment for “less prayer.” My own prayer life at times could be described as “sporadic.” I wonder if the opposite – a regular liturgy/litany of prayer would make the habit of praying more indelible.
I also wonder if there is truth to a prayer liturgy offering a way outward. Winner suggests this spontaneous praying often left her feeling narcisstic – only praying for herself. Written prayers give us the possibility of thinking more widely about what to pray for/about.
We practice spontaneous prayer at church. Many times the same prayers are prayed by the same people – very little variety. We pray for forgiveness of sinss, the sick, the lost and for guidance. I suspect any attempt to marry the two would be difficult since we fear anything “liturgical” yet, we by our own habits, establish our own “liturgy.”
Written prayers are no less spiritual than spontaneous prayers. In fact, written prayers make us more thoughtful, engagin the mind with the heart.
I like the challenge of this little book – you might too.
Solomon suggests the interaction we have with people sharpens us. We hope to be sharpened by people following God in the way of Christ. One friend who sharpens me blogs at Just Mark. Imitation is flattery and I confess to borrowing Mark’s title for my own blog. I don’t know why Mark chose that title. I know why I did. I face life on the same level as anyone. I wrestle with truth, life, faith, economics, relationships, the future “just” like anyone else. This is space where I can reflect theologically – with respect to my relationship with God – on those issues.
Joe Meyers may have written one of those books that could arguably change our understanding of relationship, especially with regards to the Church. You’ll find a link in my book list to the left.
Joe took some thoughts on architecture written a number of years ago and offers some incredible insights into the ways people connect in space. He suggests there are four spaces in which people belong – Public, Social, Personal and Intimate.
We often convey to someone they could enjoy an “intimate” relationship with God. Meyer’s definition for intimate – “naked and unashamed.” Relationally that means you have a willingness to honest about who you are before God. Not many of us really want an intimate relationship with God. We want a personal God but not an intimate God. We want to keep God at just the right distance so I don’t have to change too much. For that matter not many of us want an inimate relationship with anyone. We are too fearful of what they might think or say about us.
How would this play into our expressions of hospitality? We have expectations of people that may be unrealistic. Think about it. Tell me what you think.
Debate goes on around the issue of the gospel and whether or not the message changes or just the methods change. In fact, a recent book was published where different authors presented their opinions on the matter and responded to each other as well. The subject is worth consideration. I will make some comments along the way …
One thing is for sure, we must be the church differently today than we were in the 1950’s. The height of the SBC statistically came after World War 2 in the 1950’s. I shared a conversation this afternoon in which the subject came up. One important point was made. In the 1950’s the church viewed itself as people serving it. We gave away social ministry to the Federal government. Today we decry the abuse and neglect fostered under that system. We now must come to rediscovering the church is the church for the glory of God and the sake/blessing of the world. The Church will need to capture a self-understanding which is characterized by serving its famlies and the community in which it is located not looking to be served …
more to come.