Coming Soon…

My August project will be to summarize some helpful spiritual disciplines, and design some easy-to-understand materials. Tell me what disciplines or spiritual formation topics you’d like to know about, for yourself, your small group, church, family, or other uses. Different forms of prayer? Lectio Divina? Meditation? Fasting? Sabbath? Examen? Spiritual Direction? It’s time to put all these graduate school studies to good use!

4 responses to “Coming Soon…

  1. Lisa, I have always struggled w/ two disciplines in particular – simplicity and hospitality. Simplicity troubles me because many aspects of my life are not entirely mine to control. (Many things I possess also belong to my wife and kids. My clothing choices are public to the extent that I teach for the seminary.) Hospitality troubles me simply because I am a borderline Asperger’s case who can hardly invite people into any aspect of my life w/ out making them and me feel awkward. How does a frustrated Carthusian bring his habit and his Rule into the civilian world?

    • lisacolondelay

      Those are great questions. I wish there was a simple answer book. It’s not like the Bible has tabs one can flip to that exactly spell it all out in perfect detail, for every person and situation.

      I’ll just offer a few things, my take-based on how God is in his nature as I have stumbled and been surprised to see him as such, not based on some inside track I have as some sort of expert, and super-spiritual saint/seminarian. I see both things you mention as matters of attitude, we might say “heart”, but really the C.E.O. (command center) of ourselves (as Dallas Willard likes to say). With “simplicity” as a discipline, it seems as though this involves purposefully stripping away distractions for a less encumbered way of life, and richer intimacy with God. For some it is technology, a luxurious lifestyle, busyness, materialistic tendencies, (think plenty of shoes, gadgets, clothes, hunting equipment, car parts, housewares…you get the idea).

      For hospitality, I offer the word hospital, from which the word comes. I doubt hospitality means one should frequently have guests in their home. While this may be a great way to practice the discipline, there appear to be thousands of ways to do the same kind of “hospital” sort of care. I think practicing hospitality means we offer spiritual comfort, and a place of grace and healing to those around us. We are approachable, kind, bearing burdens, or even doing something as thoughtful as baking muffins and bringing in coffee to a classroom to engender a spirit of caring. You show God’s love through acts of service, my friend. And my best guess is that you do it quite well. God doesn’t ask that we all function the same way, but that we all show loving-kindness in the way our giftedness (from Him) has bent us. May we do it consistently out of love for him. In this way, we are changed into the image of our gracious Creator.

  2. facebookexperiment

    Lisa, I agree with you. Especially with the hospitality comments. We are all part of the body of Christ, and of the church. We are all given gifts that are unique and special. I am sure, just by reading Dougs post, that he is a very hospitable to those that he teaches. I am sure that he is kind, and respectful…probably patient to his students. Doug…I think you can LIVE a life of hospitality to others. All day long. To your wife and children as well. Just by being kind. And loving.

    Having said that…I think that we should use our gifts that we are given. (and are strong in)I also think that we are also to build muscles in what we are not.

    I am horrid with numbers…ok…grammer and spelling too. (lol…that wasn’t much of a secret…was it) But, I try each and every day to do a little bit better. The challenge, I think…is to use the gifts that we are good at…but not make it a disporportionate (sorry…sp?) muscle. I can’t survive using only one muscle. I must exercise all of my God given muscles. Right?

    Lisa…when you write your study…My suggestion, if I may…would be to make part of the study be on “quiet”. This is SOOO hard for me. To make the time…and to have the discipline to sit. Quietly, before God. No agenda. (I guess one would call it meditation?)

    I think that we all miss the mark in some way of always “doing”. We read the Bible…which is what we are suppose to do…we pray. But…when I can get myself into the discipline of sitting….and just “being” with God…I feel so close and refreshed.

    Oh…BTW…can’t you work on a Bible with the tabs on it? It would be so much easier.

    • lisacolondelay

      Thank you! On the issue of quiet–several disciplines can be really helpful. To name a few: The disciplines of Silence, Unplugging, Retreat, Detachment, and Sabbath, all work on this issue quite powerfully. I’ll try to write more on this soon. I agree, the noise gets deafening. A spiritual direction professor of mine said for her 10-14 days was needed on retreat, before her continuous noisy thoughts (of obligations, her schedule, fleeting thoughts, etc) went quite. At that point the silence was several powerful things: A bit frightening (b/c it was so unusual and the void was in a sense so “loud,” it was full of expectancy and excitement, b/c she knew the distractions were not in the way between her and God, and some trepidation for the same reason. Her month-long retreat was completely life-changing. I have wondered quite a bit when my own thoughts would go to quite, once removed from all the distractions, noise, and obligations of regular life for a time. The Desert Fathers and Mothers no doubt struggled with their demons much of the time, because of all that quite, I’d say. With support, and persistence, I believe so much growth can come from those times of pursued silence. May you draw in the that discipline of purification, and reap God’s gracious spiritual wonders!