Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Growth in discipleship 2

Lots of interesting comments on my first post on this, here and on Facebook. I'll concentrate on the things that I agree with.

First: learning styles. Yes, this absolutely needs to be taken into account. One model that I've liked is this one:

Second: the list in the last post can be jumbled up and shuffled around - it's not a linear process I mostly agree with this, but not totally.

Put these two together and we'd have more of a spiral staircase, with lots of different access points. So the question becomes - do we provide a context within which people can enter in all sorts of different ways?

Those learning styles: Activist - Theorist - Reflector - Pragmatist. How do they fit into 'learning how to be a Christian'?

Third: a comment from Tim on FB, "The problem as I see it is that the NT does not present the apostles and early missionaries as leading Christians through ten-week courses. This doesn't mean that they didn't grow disciples, though. I tried the 'course' approach for years and it just didn't work for anything more than a minority of people in our context. I also noted that even those who had been through the courses were not necessarily practising the disciplines they had learned about. So I've come to the conclusion that the old-fashioned one-on-one approach may well be best. It seems to be working better for me anyway." I liked this a lot, not least because it chimed with my last talk on St Benedict, wherein he described what the Abbot was supposed to do (how he was supposed to be) which was to focus on the monks as individuals. Raises the ghost of George Herbert again though...

So "What would Jesus do?" - in the ASB ordinal the priest is enjoined to 'set the Good Shepherd always before [you] as the pattern of [your] calling'. I can see the following:
- plenty of private prayer time and solitude getting intimate with the Father;
- work with a small group of the 'inner three';
- work with a small group of 'the twelve';
- work with a wider group of disciples (and where Mary Mag?)
- generalised teaching to crowds primarily with parables but also with healing/exorcisms
- prophetic drama and public debate with the religious authorities.

I would say that he modelled a particular understanding of faith, and lived it in the circumstances in which he found himself.

(I'm not sure that he did much of what might today be called 'public service' or 'good works' - that seems to be a liberal distraction - things that make us 'good people' rather than 'people of God' - not that there's anything wrong with being a 'good person'!)

OK time run out; still thinking about this; more later.

5 comments:

  1. Hey, Sam.

    Just came across your blog. Enjoyed the read.

    I'm an aspiring clergy-writer who's new to the Anglican tradition, and am trying to find Anglican readers. The title of my blog is "Musings of a Hard-Lining Moderate: The assorted thoughts of an evangelical Anglican."

    Right now I'm doing a series on the doctrine of Scripture, which was prompted by the crisis in the global communion. Also wrote a post on the value of the christian calendar.

    Don't know if you'd be interested, but here's the link: http://bit.ly/dXh2qd

    Have a great day.

    Grace & Peace,

    Carson

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Richard - don't know why you removed that comment, I thought it was helpful. I am not intending to be provocative without a purpose, my point is that Jesus' primary ministry would seem to have been that of a teacher. His 'good works' eg healing, exorcisms, feeding 5000 etc, were episodic and (mostly) tied in with what he was teaching. For example, a doctor will spend their time doing the business of healing - they may dispense wisdom and advice as well, in the course of doing that, but they are not philosophers. In the same way, Jesus did various things in the course of his ministry, but his primary ministry was teaching - or so it seems to me.

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  4. Have you come across Paul Jensen's "Subversive Spirituality"? (I don't think I came across it here on your blog, but apologies if this is an egg sucking opp.)

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22subversive+spirituality%22+jensen

    I've not finished it yet (I was mining it for an essay), so I'll quote from the backcover blurb:

    "It develops a twofold thesis: grace, spiritual disciplines, and mission practices are inseparably linked in the mission of Jesus, of the early church, and of several historical renewal movements, as well as in a contemporary field research sample; and amidst the collapse of space and time evidenced by our culture's increasingly hurried pace of life, more time and space are needed for regular solitary and communal spiritual practices in church, mission, and leadership structures if Christian mission is to transform people and culture in our time."

    NTW's backcover endorsement finishes thusly:

    "This is a book all of us in Christian leadership need to learn from if we are to be equipped for God's mission in tomorrow's world."

    The "tomorrow's world" triggers me to wonder where the flying cars have got to, but that's a totally different issue...

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  5. Hmmn, comment doesn't seem to have posted. Let's try again (this time keeping a copy open in a text editor).

    Have you come across Paul Jensen's "Subversive Spirituality : Transforming Mission through the Collapse of Space and Time"? (I don't think I came across it here, but apologies if this is a coals-back-to-the mine delivery).

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Subversive+Spirituality%22+jensen

    I've not finished reading the book yet (I was mining it for an essay), so I'll cut'n'paste a chunk of the backcover blurb:

    "Subversive Spirituality links the practice and study of Christian spirituality with Christian mission. It develops a twofold thesis: grace, spiritual disciplines, and mission practices are inseparably linked in the mission of Jesus, of the early church, and of several historical renewal movements, as well as in a contemporary field research sample; and amidst the collapse of space and time evidenced by our culture's increasingly hurried pace of life, more time and space are needed for regular solitary and communal spiritual practices in church, mission, and leadership structures if Christian mission is to transform people and culture in our time."

    NTW endorsement (also from the backcover) ends with:

    "Jensen's work is rooted in history but open to God's future, grounded in prayer and devotion while grappling with hard-edged practical questions. This is a book all of us in Christian leadership need to learn from if we are to be equipped for God's mission in tomorrow's world."

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