Friday, September 22, 2006

Journal: The Life You've Always Wanted

This book by John Ortberg is the focus of my community group's current study. Until it is obvious no one cares, I am going to journal on the study questions over at Street Prophets. I am not cross-posting at Brain Cramps for God.[I changed my mind]. Hopefully, as you answer these questions for yourself - and perhaps join in the discussion of your answers with others - you too can join in the transformation the book envisions.

Our community group is only committed to finishing this over the next 9 months: it may be faster or slower. If you want to keep up with my journaling here, bookmark this index and come back from time to time to see if I have answered more questions.

Chapter 1: "We Shall Morph Indeed": The Hope of Transformation

Chapter 2: Surprised by Change: The Goal of Spiritual Life
Chapter 3: Training vs. Trying: The Truth about Spiritual Disciplines
John Ortberg now begins to look at specific spiritual disciplines.
How do we know what spiritual disciplines to practice? In a sense, the answer comes from thinking backwards
  • First, we must understand clearly what it means to live in the Kingdom of God. Jesus spent much of his time helping people see what true spirituality looks like. [Get a vision, from God, for our life]

  • Second, we must learn what particular barriers keep us from living that kind of life.

  • Third, we must discover what particular practices, experiences, or relationships can help us overcome these barriers. . . .[And those are the spiritual disciplines we should practice]
For some of you reading this book, perhaps the single most spiritual thing you could do is put it down and take a nap -- John Ortberg
This is the most important thing I have gotten from the book so far: we do not do spiritual disciplines just so we can check them off a list. They are not, as Ortberg points out, a barometer of spirituality or a way to earn favor with God. They are a way to enable the transformation God wants to make in your life.

So, if you do not feel the hurry in your life cramps your spiritual style you can ignore that discipline. The book presents ten different spiritual practices and/or experiences which may or may not be helpful in your path to the "Life You've Always Wanted":

Chapter 4: A "Dee Dah Day": The Practice of Celebration
Chapter 5: An Unhurried Life: The Practice of "Slowing"
Chapter 6: Interrupting Heaven: The Practice of Prayer
Chapter 7: "Appropriate Smallness": The Practice of Servanthood
Chapter 8: Life Beyond Regret: The Practice of Confession
Chapter 9: The Guided Life: Receiving Guidance from the Holy Spirit
Chapter 10: A Life of Freedom: The Practice of Secrecy
Chapter 11: An Undivided Life: The Practice of Reflection on Scripture
Chapter 12: Life with a Well-ordered Heart: Developing Your own "Rule of Life"
Chapter 13: A Life of Endurance: The Experience of Suffering

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How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly