Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Categorizing the spiritual disciplines

The message this past Sunday was on the Spiritual Disciplines. The speaker was using Acts 12:25-13:15;42-52 as his main text.

The main point was: The spiritual disciplines are anchors for the soul. They don't transform our lives, but they often put us in a position to be transformed.

I was interested in what the speaker had to say because I have always fancied myself as someone very "into" the spiritual disciplines. I enjoy reading Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, James Bryan Smith, Brennan Manning, and the like. In fact, I was just thinking that if I ever did get back into ministry of any kind, it just might be as a spiritual formation pastor.

At any rate, one thing that struck me Sunday - something I don't recall hearing or reading before but I can't imagine that I've never known this - the speaker stated that there are basically two categories of spiritual disciplines:
  • Disciplines of increased activity - Bible reading, prayer, tithing, fellowship/community, and confession.
  • Disciplines of reduced activity - Fasting, silence/solitude, rest, frugality, and simplicity.
Again, I'm not sure how I would have missed that, but I believe it: the classic spiritual disciplines involve either adding something more to our lives, or the removal of something from our lives.

So it got me to kind of wanting to go through James Bryan Smith's "Good and Beautiful" series of books again. I think it would be neat to do it with a group of people.

I also liked how, on this particular Sunday, we placed the four communion stations in the center of the room. The idea was that communion, and therefore Christ, was to be at the center of everything we did. We were also to contemplate which, if any, spiritual disciplines God might be asking us to move into at this time.

I can't say that I received a real clear indication, but I felt like Simplicity and Fasting were two areas I was being led into. I kind of miss the days when we lived in the parsonage and all our possessions would fit in a single truck. I also think I need to pursue fasting on a couple of levels: the idea of giving some things up.

So... that's what I think about that. Today.