February 2006: Discipline service planning notes
1. rule vs grid:
a rule [linear] implies a specific sequence of events that you have to follow
a grid is a frame of reference, like on a map, within which one can move in any direction but which gives orientation
2. rule emerging out of ethos of community:
what is our particular gift/charism/unique selling point as the community of grace?
what rhythm/rule sustains that?
what sustains the grace ethos/values as a community?
how is the gift guarded?
if a community develops its own rule, there is a danger of missing out things that are hard
the purpose of disciplines are to get us in touch with the Passion of Christ
discipline helps us participate in the life of christ
so what does it mean to follow in the way of christ, for us?
what helps us to be disciples?
how do we disciple someone? do we do it as a community?
do we disciple by sharing our life with people?
how do we communicate the life of christ in that?
following a corporate rule gives you support
rule embodied in a pattern of 'shared consumption' - traditionally, everyone in the community using the same book/prayers/daily office, but what is our pattern of shared consumption?
3. testing your rule:
are we the best people to curate/review the structure we generate from ourselves?
who do we look to for the outside view?
tests to apply:
how does your new rule compare to previous rules and the life of christ itself [church tradition /the bible]
how does your rule bring someone from no faith to faith?
4. digging up disciplines from history:
there is a life progression of a discipline:
one person's ideal - many other people want it too - fashionable - convention - obligatory - oppressive - abandoned as meaningless
cf Mike Riddell's story of the teacher's cat
a discipline continues as an ideal after it has ceased to be helpful
are old disciplines helpful or just the accepted conventions of how to be spiritually disciplined?
how to reexamine them?
how appropriate are disciplines created for different societies [eg benedict] to our own circumstances?
5. discipline in postmodernity:
there is a suspicion of authority ingrained in us
rule-changing/deconstruction is our natural response faced with a rule
so what is a postmodern rule?
in a postmodern society what stock should we set by the failure to follow somebody else's rule?
how do you find the 'rule' that is authentic for you?
the first rule of grace is that there is no rule
always contradict yourself
to be able to break something down you have to know it from inside well [in alt.worship it's knowledge of church especially charismatic evangelical]
[it's typical of grace to pick up something on a quick reading [eg benedict] and run with it]
6. what are the seasons or rhythms of our lives/community?:
quartering the year - seasons of christian life
[the christian calendar is supposed to work like this]
if we reevaluate during summer holidays is that our new lent?
an alternative church year?
[interesting that grace has always produced strong stuff in lent - as opposed to say advent]
is a rule always the same or does it have seasons?
7. discipline as training for achievements
[is it its own reward?]
discipline turns you into something.
what do you want to turn into?
how far will you go?
discipline takes us from one place to another
is discipline like gardening - different natures, all need shaping within their own nature/environment
discipline to be appropriate - wrong one will damage
what is sustainable as a rule/discipline?
8. discipline of prayer
as practising awareness of god, rather than repetition of words or lists
9. discipline of idleness
over-organised lives need times to not be 'disciplined'
we need a discipline of taking time out - the danger of a rule is it becomes another form of workload
is this why we fail to have disciplined spiritual lives? another form of busyness in a too-busy society?
balance in life - as individuals/community
10. for the service:
we need things in service that produce data:
what helps you to follow jesus?
what does grace do that helps
what's missing from what grace does?
[do on flip charts/post up]
what do people actually make time for?
what does this tell us about values/what we put first?
make an altar of self-help books - a monument to failure of discipline/good intentions