Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Every day - raw journal

Awhile back we went through a course at our church that is called "Every Day: Simple Faith Habits for Everyday People." It was written and taught by our pastor, Brian. It consisted of learning a few simple faith habits we could use everyday. We learned:
  • A simple way to consistently read the Bible and pray.
  • A basic theological lens to help us understand and apply what we read in the Bible.
  • A way to connect with other people in ongoing, faith-sustaining relationships.
Personally, I thought it was a great format and discipleship method for people just starting out in developing faith habits. Practically, it was fairly typical of classes I've been involved with before (on both sides of the aisle). There were 12 of us at the first session; 6 at the second; and 4 at the third. Anyway, we both enjoyed it, and will likely try to start some groups ourselves.

The simple way we were taught to read the Bible and pray is by keeping a "RAW Journal." R.A.W. stands for "Read, Ask, and Write."

Step 1 is reading a passage of Scripture every day (or most days). The idea is to use a short enough passage that you can read a couple times through, and highlight the phrase that jumps out to you the most.

Step 2 is then ASKing questions - both connection questions as well as reflection questions. Some connection questions might include:
- Why do the words or phrases I highlighted have my attention?
- Do they relate or speak to a current struggle or challenge or joy?
- Do they stir an emotion or feeling in me?
- Do they relate or speak to a recent experience?

Some reflection questions might include:
- What does this remind me about who God is?
- What does this remind me about who God says I am?
- What does this remind me about what God promises?
- What does this remind me about the good news I know from the Bible?

Step 3 is then WRITING a prayer based on your highlights, questions, and responses. Part of the RAW process is writing it as though writing a letter to a friend. Personally, I have done this for years when I've journalled. I always end my prayers by telling God I love him, and thanking him for loving me, and then signing, "Your son, Dan." But that's just me.

Section two deals with looking at what we read through consistent themes and ideas found throughout the Bible (rather than proof-texting). The three main themes Brian suggested are:
- Grace
- Relationship
- Participation

Grace is the assurance that God loves us no matter what.
Relationship reveals how God loves you as a son or daughter.
Participation reveals God wants you to participate in the family business by loving people well.

So, overall, it's a lens with which to look at what we read, ask and write.

The final section deals with the challenge of meeting regularly with one or two other people to share what you're learning and experiencing. It will help you:
- stick with your healthy faith habits.
- find answers to your questions.
- learn things you wouldn't otherwise.


Part of what I like about this is that it can be done in a very informal manner, and it's pretty generic. It doesn't require a lot, but it also fosters a level of intimacy and accountability that can develop great friendships and great faith. So, I've been praying about trying to start a group or two. We'll see. If nothing else, I like the RAW journaling aspect of it. Good stuff.