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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ackerman, J. (2001). Listening to God: spiritual formation in congregations. Bethesda, MD: Alban Institute. 

Ackerman, J. (2001). Listening to God: spiritual formation in congregations. Bethesda, MD: Alban Institute.

Journey inward - spirituality together with a journey outward in social ogether within a journey together. 4
the goal is that christ and not our egos be at the centre of our lives  Christian spirtuality  takes the form of the cross: a surrender to christ, who has laid  down his life for us Christians who seek to grow  spiritually listen to the risen Christ in scripture and in life, and obey the call of God. Spirituality is not designed to enhance our egos. The focus is on God. 19

The most important way that we become formed into Christ is in worship. It is in the ordinary congregation, warts and all, that most Christians most of the time have found God and become transformed. It is through singing unsingablehymns, loving irritating neighbours, listening  to boring sermons and receiving clumsily administered sacraments that we are  formed into the body of Christ and Christ is formed in us. 24

the round dance of the blessed trinity (gregory of Nyssa) life springs forth from the father the ultimate giver .... the total self gift is the son ... in the HS the son as the ultimate gift is returned to the father as the utimate in thanksgiving.  25

the stages 30

stage 1 Dependent
 awakening to GOd

basic trust and a natural wonder and openness

dependent on others
Children and wounded adults are often at this stage
susceptible to charimatic leaders and influences.

Disciples at this stage - learned the 31st psalm and prayers at mothers knee, knew scripture by heart and depended on God for everything

sin is self protection
prayer is help! you are great

stage 2 Counterdependence
struggle whose way

become part of  group - often 'is against them'we fight our dependence to have a voice of our own to find a new identity in the tribe.

taking justice into their own hands, fighting eveil, creating an empire.
develop doubt and intellect.
Evengeliscals at ths stage are usualy strong on disciplines and character formation but have little development beyond stage 3

disciples at this satge met Jesus who discipled them to see God in a new way. competed like adolescents to be the closest and the first.

sin is rebelion
Prayer is deliver from enemies

stage 3 Mutual dependence
conventional discipleship

learn to grow up an dbecome responsible,
sense of duty and belonging

spirituality focuses on belonging, making commitments. leaders feel a need at this stage to control. Teacher feel the needt  to be expert and credentialed. success driven.

Always busy, self centred performance

disillusionment on the horizon

Disciples became mature and were sent out in twos to preach and to heal. Came to darkness of JC death - reverted to stage 1. We can regress or hear GOd inviting us to embrace the darkness

sin is giving too much power to leaders - failure to grow
prayer is send me your law; show me your light

Stage 4 - independence
darkness unknowing
we are alone and in the dark.

we begin to develop a fragile inner authority and can accept responsibility for our failures.

THere is a recognition that the old way of knowing GOd is eclipsed

begin to listen because they are letting go of te boxes in which they have put God because they want more. Begin to understand what it is to surrender to god as they stop trying so hard. Don't need to be in control.

Transition to stage 5 is the hardest and represents the dark night.

Disciples returned to upper room prayed and waited faced their guilt ab ddespair wondering why god had forsaken them.

sin is seeing stage 3 as the enemy
prayer is be with me in my doubt, why have you forsaken me

Satge 5 interdependence

able to be in community in a new way as truly ourselves, god is in us and in others and in us together. there is a unitive glimpse and our love matures. God is in all things.

rare found in people who want to follow a call within a call (M Teresa). Love of paradox and mystery as ways of thinking about God. sef directed learning is the norm, write books or papers, travel on pigrimage, don't do anything that isn't engaging and meaningful. tend to be more balanced with work and play

Disciples - pentecost and the disciples knew God in a new way, god revealed himself in a new way

sin is all our loves need conversion - failure to surrender
prayer is you are in the hearts of strangers

Martin thornton "while individuals may go deeper, the overall climate of teh congregation will not go further than the clergy and core lay leadership" 65

Jonathan Edwards developed a list of erliable and unreliable signs of grace.

Unreliable signs of grace
1. Intense affection or passion. We feel excited , close to God; things work out; we are touched. (This affection or passion may be perverted by our ego).
2. The appearence of love, kindness, politeness. We have nice meetings where everyone agrees.
3. Feelings of assurance that we are saved, that we are being guided, that we are filled by God.
4. Praise for God. (Ayone can praise when things go well.)
5. Religious activities (they may not be signs).

reliable signs of grace
1. we experience a transformation of behaviour and character. We are surprised at grace, goodness, that we did not manufacture.
2. We know a new affection for GOd for GOd's sake, not GOd's gifts. We are able to love God when things don't go well, whne we're depressed, when we don't have good feelings or thoughts.
3.We discover a new sense of knowing. This knowing id more than intellectiual assent; it is a deep trust, a personal conviction. We don't have to browbeat others; we are able to love our enemies, particularlyin our family and those at teh other end of the political spectrum.
4. We experience balance in our lives. We keep the sabbath, we can play, we can laugh at ourselves.
5. We know how to surrender and how to persevere. Suffering and obedience go together. Obedience is made perfect through suffering. pp 91 ff


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rowling, J. K., & GrandPre╠ü, M. (2007). Harry Potter and the deathly hallows . New York, NY: Arthur A. Levine Books 

Dumbledore, Albus

It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.

I loved them, I loved my parents, I loved my brother and my sister, but I was selfish, Harry, more selfish than you, who are a remarkably selfless person, could possibly imagine.

Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?

Do not pity the dead, Harry, pity the living. Above all pity those who live without love.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Faragher, C. (2010) Other voices : exploring the contemplative in Salvationist spirituality. Salvo 

Julian (of Norwich) makes it clear that our prayer begins in God and returns to God. It is of God, about God , in God. All prayer is a response to God's prayer and desire for us. The tradition itself 'is a response to God's longing that we spend time with him, that we create space in our loves to be with him'. pp27

there are three capacities or faculties which we have under consideration - the thinking faculty, the feeling faculty, and te willing or acting faculty. These  practically cover all the ways in which self can react to other selves and other things... it is the whole person of intellect, of feeling, and of will which finds its only true objective in the Christian God. Evelyn Underhill Excerpts from the essentials of mysticism, devotional classics pp 113

The result of much personalprayer is usually seen in a change of expression from 'give me', to 'make me'. OUr deepest longings are for an ever increasing knowledge of teh divine plan for our lives. This is not achieved without much agony of teh spirit... Doris Rendell pp69

God's iniative , not our achievement
listening more than talking
receiving more than asking for
coming to rest in the direction of God
directing our hearts toward him and trusting him to do the rest. Silf


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Wright, N. (2008). Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. New York: Harperone. 

It is no good falling back into the tired old split-level world where some people believe in 'evangelism' in terms of 'saving souls for a timeless eternity' and other people believe in 'mission' in terms of 'working for justice, peace and hope in the present world'. That great divide has nothing to do with Jesus and the New Testament, and everything to do with the silent enslavement of many Christians (both 'conservative' and 'radical') to the Platonic ideology of the Enlightenment. One we get the resurrection straight, we can and must get mission straight. 206

The work of salvation in its full sense is (1) about whole human beings, not merely souls' (2) about the present, not simply the future; and (3) about what God does through us, not merely what God does in and for us. 213

to snatch saved souls away to a disembodied 'heaven' would destroy the  whole point. God is to become king of teh whole world at last. And he will do this not by declaring that the inner dynamic of creation was a mistake, nor by declaring that the inner dynamic of his covenant  was a failure, butr by fulfilling them both. 215

to see evangelism in terms of the announcement of God's kingdom, of Jesus' lordship and of the consequent new creation, avoids from the start any suggestion that the main or central thing that has happened is that the new Christain has enteed into a private relationship with God or with Jesus 240

seeing evangelism and any esulting conversions in terms of new creation  means that the new convert knows from the start that they are part of God's kingdom project, which stretches  out beyonf 'me and my salvation' to embrace or rather be embraced by God's worldwide purposes 241

to speak  of Jesus' lordship  and of the new creation which results from his victory on Calvary and at Easter, implies at once that to confess him as Lord and to believe that God raised him from the dead is to allow one's entire life to be reshaped by him, knowing that , though this will be painful from time to time, it will be the way, not to a diminshed or cramped human existence, but to genuine human life in the present, and complete, glorious, resurrected human life in the future. 242

no sensde in Marks gospel that Jesus is raised so therefore there really is life after death. More the impliocation that Jesus is raised and all that he said about teh coming kingdom through his work, death and ressurrection has come true.ie inauguaration of teh kingdom. 246

The message of easter is that God's new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you're now invited to belong to it 265

I remain convinced that the way forward is to rediscover a true eschatology, to rediscover a true mission rooted in anticipating that eschatology, and to rediscover forms of church which embody that anticipation. 276

Mission must urgently recover from its long term schizophrenia. As I have said before, th esplit between 'saving souls' and 'doing good in th eworld' is a product, not of eth bible or the gospel, but of the cultural captivity of both within the western world. 277

three different ways of looking at prayer.
1) kind of mysticism. being open to the beauty joy and power of the world.
2) like in ancient paganism - Making of petitions to a deity who are distant, like sailor visiting Poseidon's temple before going to sea.
3) in between elements of both but going beyond is the prayer of Israel that celebrates the goodness of creation and recog that the heaven's declare the glory of God. Celebrate intimate union with the creator God. Transcendence; intimacy; celebration; covenant . are the roots of biblical prayer 289ff


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