Disney and Disciplines

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Well, last weekend Katie’s parents took us to Disney World. It was a lot of fun, especially watching Cari as she’s now beginning to get to being old enough to kind of get it. She loves the Dumbo ride, the Teacups, and Small World. But, we all had a great (exhausting) time. Cari not only got to ride her favorite rides, but also met Bolt, Snow White, Cinderella, and Belle. So, all in all fun weekend. Also, it looks like I’m going to have the opportunity to work at the Circle of Care doing some different teachings. It will only be part time, but I’m enjoying getting my feet wet and looking forward to what lies ahead. And, now, on to the other stuff.

First a quick word about a book I recently read. The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight is a book about how we read and live out the bible. I had heard the name, but never read anything by McKnight. Much of it was review for me, but it is so well written that it was a joy to read. It is a fast read, he has some incredible insights about tendencies in reading the bible and the best way to go about reading the scriptures. It’s the type of book that anyone who asks me how the bible should be read I would recommend this book. Fantastic!

Second, since I’m not having to concern myself with church duties, I’m enjoying some of the thinking I’m getting to do without being consumed with that stuff. Some of this revolves around churches, how they function or dysfunction, what it could be, etc. One of the things that I’ve been exploring is spiritual formation. Much of “church” revolves around institutional support – paying bills, receiving tithes, etc. Much of this relies upon keeping people coming or getting new people to attend. Without having to spend time on church techniques, I find myself getting to explore more the realm of spiritual development and formation. I’m fascinated with the last several years of information intake that I’ve been doing. Constantly having a message looming upon the horizon gave me a sense of a need to constantly be bringing in new information to share. Now I look back and wonder how much of the information has really sat with me, stuck and brought change. I see that I am quite different than I was when we last lived here. Some of that is due to experiences, some is due to things I’ve learned. Some of the ways I’ve changed I think are good, others may not be. I’m enjoying the opportunity to let insights and information marinate as I shared before. I’m enjoying sitting with concepts, ideas, and passages, and as opposed to moving on letting them take root within and hopefully bring transformation and growth that would not otherwise occur. But, I’m also becoming fascinated, and have been for a little while, with spiritual disciplines. I believe that these help shape and form us, and for the most part, since these things being done on a personal level don’t really help further institutional needs, they get hijacked for the church or ignored. There is a group who is putting out a series of books on spiritual disciplines called The Ancient Practices Series. I believe Phyllis Tickle is the mastermind behind it all. Brian McLaren wrote the first one which was an introduction that I read I believe last summer. I’m now reading one of fasting which was also written by Scot Mcknight. It’s very insightful. He does a great job of looking at cultural and sociological dysfunctions that have led to misunderstandings and misuses in fasting. I’m thoroughly enjoying the book. I’m really hoping during this time to move from a place of knowing a lot of stuff about God to once again really connecting with God, knowing God personally on deeper levels. My hope is that letting some things marinate, and engaging in some spiritual disciplines will aid in that endeavor.

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