Monday, April 21, 2014

Preparing for Tuesday, April 22

I apologize that this post is late in coming to you!  Thus, let's forego a reading as well as a journal entry for Tuesday, April 22.  However, as you plan for your Tuesday afternoon, regarding our gathering, be prepared for a very "moving experience." Don't worry, I'll explain everything when we meet.  Indeed, a moment of planned spontaneity!
Gerald Chafin

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Worship Seminar - Foster, Chapter 5- Study

The Discipline of Study
Miller - Chapter 10, page 103-112
Foster, Chapter 5, page 62-76

As we continue the reading of the Foster text, I pray for your study of this book of Christian disciplines the words of Ephesians 1:17 "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better."

Remember that our next gathering for class will be Tuesday, April 15, as part of the LWC Leadership Conference.  We'll be hosting a session and you will be helping groups to work through several exercises.

Here are the items to journal for Chapter 5, Study:
1. Review the four components of the Discipline of Study. Outline them with definitions.
2. From this chapter create 3 fill-in-the-blank statements which we'll use as questions later.
Refer back to # 2 in the Prayer Journal to recall what we're doing with this. Remember to include the answer and the page number!
3.  In one sentence write a statement that brings together, or combines, Foster, chapter 5, and Miller, chapter 10.  (If you need some assistance, use the chapter titles to help you reveal an interesting truth.)

4.  The Practice of Study:  Choose one "nonverbal book" listed and share your experience in your journal.  Therefore, "study" (using the four components) the "book" of nature, or human relationships, or self, or an event. (page 73-76) Fully describe your experience and share your insights.
5.  Use this opportunity to continue to filling in your chart that lists the discipline and its resulting freedom - along with a Scripture that serves to tie everything together.  Let's plan to share what you have charted thus far.



Friday, April 4, 2014

Worship Seminar - Foster, Chapter 4 - Fasting - Preparing for Tuesday, April 8

Reading:
Miller:  starting in mid-chapter 8 and moving into chapter 9,  pages 91-101
Foster:  Chapter 4

Journaling: (This session includes a rather interesting "practice/exercise" in fasting.  Read number 6 below to determine how you will spend your time.  This particular event may need to be "scheduled" (in your planner) in order to be successful.

1. The past two sessions, we have practiced exercises in solitude and prayer. How have these private encounters been for you? From our last exercise, fully develop your daily prayer here in your journal. Practice doing this as the first thing you do each day.
2. On page 91-92, Miller shares a hypothetical conversation he's having with Moses. Miller starts the story by showing empathy for the Children of Israel who built an idol and worshiped it. Miller states that he gets “bored” and wanted something “new”, something “fresh” to think about. At one point, toward the end, Moses tells Don that he is “spoiled” and that the problem is not that “God is unfulfilling”. Respond to that thought: Are we spoiled? Have we engaged God fully and found Him lacking?
3. In chapter 9, on page 97, Miller writes “I have become an infomercial for God, and I don’t even use the product.” What do you think he means? Have you ever been or are you now guilty of this?

4.  Fasting is usually the spiritual discipline with which we have the least experience.  In your journal, comment on the following:  What kinds of responses do you have to Foster's emphasis on the importance of fasting as element of Christian discipline?
5.  Which section of this chapter was most insightful for you for information as well as inspiration.
6.  The Practice of Fasting:
Do the exercise below and journal about your experience. In this case, take your time. Create the opportunity and space in your schedule to fully experience the exercise:
Fast from something other than food for 6 hours - for example, media, passing judgment on yourself or others, impulsive speech, etc... you choose. Journal about your experience and what insights you have gleaned.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Worship Seminar, Foster, Chapter 3 - Prayer - Preparing for Thursday, April 3

Chapter 3, Prayer
We're slightly moving away from our syllabus listing for Thursday, April 3.  For this session, closely and carefully read only the Foster, chapter 3 - Prayer.  This is a very significant reading.  Again, give it a close and careful read.  Then, journal the following:
 

The Discipline of Prayer - Chapter 3
1.  Review the references early in the chapter to those who "viewed prayer as the main business of their lives" - Martin Luther, John Wesley, David Brainerd, Adoniram Judson, John Hyde, and others. Find brief biographical information on one of these individuals. Insert this information in your journal with Foster's statement about that individual's prayer life.

2.  From this chapter create 3 fill-in-the-blank statements which we'll use as questions later. Here are some examples on how to make it look. Do include the page number and locaton:
A.  We are working with God to determine the future. (page 35, last paragraph)
B.  The beginning point in learning to pray for others is to listen for guidance. (page 39, middle)

3.  And,  . . . from our brief solitude exercise in class, journal your experience and what matters were brought to your mind as you were quiet before God.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Worship Seminar - Chapter 7 - Solitude, Preparing for Tuesday, April 1

Reading:
Miller:  Chapters 14 and 15
Foster:  The Discipline of Solitude - Chapter 7 

Now that we're familiar with Miller, we can take the liberty to do some jumping around.  Chapters 14 and 15 uniquely correlate with Foster's section on solitude.

For your journal:
1.  Foster distinguishes a meaning of solitude when he says, "Solitude is inner fulfillment. Loneliness is inner emptiness." Continue and expand on this by offering a detailed "compare/contrast" between the two writers.  What is Miller's approach?  What is Foster's approach?  How do they agree?  How are they different?

2.  Describe the paradox Foster creates by discussing Dietrich Bonhoeffer's text "Life Together" (97-98).  What is the deeper point to understand about silence and the tongue as discussed in the section "The Sacrifice of Fools" (99.ff)?

If this question applies to you, I invite you to share this in your journal.  Writing about it will be a way toward healing and a way to process your own thoughts.  What you journal will remain in confidence.
3. Have you experienced a "dark night of the soul" as described by Foster? How did this affect you? What did you learn?



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Worship Seminar - Foster, Chapter 9 - Service

The Discipline of Service

Reading:
Foster, Chapter 9
Miller, Chapter 5

1. Recall that we are in the midst of creating a chart, listing the Discipline, the corresponding Freedom (or Liberation), and the connecting Scripture.  Continue developing your chart as we journey through the Foster text.

As you are developing your chart, continually re-consider Foster’s statement on page 110:  “Every Discipline has its corresponding freedom … The purpose of the Disciplines is freedom. Our aim is the freedom, not the Discipline. The moment we make the Discipline our central focus, we turn it into law and lose the corresponding freedom.”

2. In this chapter, Foster lists nine “types” of service in the marketplace. In your journal, list these with a brief description.  (Although these are not clearly marked, the signal is, "there is the service of.....")

3.  Miller describes a unique ritual of penguins.  At the top-half of page 57, he ties it all together.  Has the "radar" inside you ever prompted you to something that you can't exactly explain.  Describe it, as best you can, in your journal.

The Practice of Service:
Choose one of the following:
1. Of the nine “types” of service in the marketplace, share when one of these acts of service was given/performed for you. In other words, when have you received a gift of service.
2. Act on opportunities to practice courtesy by looking at them as acts of true Christian service rather than just polite cultural rituals. Reflect on how this perspective affects your experience.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Worship Seminar - Foster, Submission - Preparing for Tuesday, March 25

Special Announcement:  
E-mail your first Advent candle reading to ChafinG@lindsey.edu.  We're ready to start the presses rolling!

Reading:
Miller:  Chapters 3 and 4 (Read carefully through these sections.  An interesting in-class set of questions awaits us.)
Foster:  The Discipline of Submission - Chapter 8
In the early portions of this chapter, Foster comments (several times) that each discipline has its corresponding freedom. Use this opportunity to create a chart listing all the disciplines. Indicate submission's corresponding freedom and then a corresponding Scripture.... For example,
The Disciplines--Corresponding Freedom--Corresponding Scripture
Meditation
Prayer
Fasting
Study

Simplicity
Solitude
Submission - the burden of always needing to get our own way (and, add Scripture)
Service

Confession
Worship
Guidance
Celebration

As we continue, keep going back to complete this chart, listing the "freedom" for each discipline!

The Practice of Submission:
For journaling, choose two of the following:
1. List the "seven acts of submission" from the text. Would you change this list by adding to or taking away from it? Which of these seven are a challenge point for you in your journey?
2. How does the discipline of submission relate to your current role as a scholar, preparing for your future?
3. Have you seen the discipline of submission used destructively? What caused the incident and how could it be avoided in the future?