2014-2015 Renovaré Christian Book Club discussion

Way of Jesus > Week 1, Way of Jesus

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message 1: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Quinn | 106 comments Mod
Hello Book Club friends, and welcome to this first week of reading and discussing Mark Scandrette's book "Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love." This week we are reading and discussing the first two chapters. I think we will all appreciate this book and the way it nudges and inspires us to live out the call of Jesus in our daily lives.

I have a lot underlined in the first two chapters. Mark says, "Like me, you probably have many stories about small risks of obedience that have shaped your journey with God. As I've already mentioned, taking risks to practice the teachings of Jesus is the way that disciples of Jesus have always been made. The goal of the book is to highlight how we can be more conscious and intentional about this process and share the journey with others."

How about you? As you think about it, is there a risk of obedience you have taken to practice the teachings of Jesus that you could share with us? How did it shape your journey with God?

message 2: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Norman | 16 comments Ok, maybe I will start things off a bit. I enjoy that this book is in some sense a challenge to take the idea of living like Jesus seriusly. I enjoyed the reference to Dallas Willard's quote regarding trying to do what Jesus does.

My first reaction, however, was 'Oh my this seems pretty extreme.' - also the danger would be to try experiments simply for the sake of trying an experiment - kind of like doing a discipline just to do the discipline. I look forward to hearing how mark talks about the freedom that is conveyed through his experiments as the product not of the experiment themself, but in immersion in the Kingdom of God.

message 3: by Bee Jay (new)

Bee Jay | 16 comments I think life is full of risk! Just crossing the street is risky. -- Okay. So that's a bit trite.

I've found that "experimenting" helps me find where the Spirit is really calling me. I push off from shore and the Spirit -- pneuma, breath -- corrects my path.
As for actual experiments, back in the early 1970', many in the Charismatic Renewal were experimenting with what is now known as New Monasticism. Back then, we were just trying to live out Acts 2, without a fancy title. I attended a number of prayer meetings at one such house. And I and some friends considered forming our own house. It didn't work out, logistically, but we enjoyed the experiment.

The same thing has happened to me in establishing my prayer life: I've experimented to find what works for me. The Seattle area is full of Centering Prayer fans. It doesn't work for me. I experimented, faithfully, before coming to that conclusion.

To reflect on Kyle's comment about extreme, I agree. Christianity has always been counter-cultural, which many outside the church consider extreme. But, perhaps, following Jesus requires us to be a bit different?

The other piece for me is stage-of-life: There are many experiments and practices that attracted me before retirement, some of which I did participate in. Now I find myself saying "Been there; done that; do NOT feel called -- or re-called -- to do it again." Domestic and global mission primary among them. And also several church activities like reading the lessons or serving on the governing body.

Looking forward to our discussions. OH: and the questions at the end of the chapter are excellent! I'm experimenting with implementing my responses.

message 4: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Quinn | 106 comments Mod
Thank you, both, for your thoughts and honesty. It's all very thought provoking. I am wondering if our willingness to experiment may open us in a new way to something God has for us that we would not otherwise have discovered? I do think this is like practicing the disciplines. We do them not for the discipline itself but for how God uses it to deepen us in Him. Bee Jay shared this in her thought on pneuma, pushing off from the shore. I love that analogy.

message 5: by Bee Jay (new)

Bee Jay | 16 comments Thanks, Brenda.
That was a short version of an MYF -- Methodist Youth Fellowship -- rally. The preacher/teacher pointed out that a boat moored to the dock doesn't get anywhere. It's only when we move out, away from the dock (security, the familiar, whatever) that God can move us in the right direction. I simply love that metaphor! More than once it's helped me get un-stuck!

Bill from Florida | 50 comments Kyle wrote: "Ok, maybe I will start things off a bit. I enjoy that this book is in some sense a challenge to take the idea of living like Jesus seriusly. I enjoyed the reference to Dallas Willard's quote rega..."

Kyle, Your comment was used by God to help me pause and reflect. What is my motive to practice the spiritual disciplines and acts of service? There is such a subtle tendency (sometimes not so subtle) to feel good about myself for doing them. I will try to be attentive/watchful as I engage with this book to do them as a pilgrim and not as a tourist.

message 7: by Cheri (new)

Cheri Hudspith | 4 comments So the idea that came to me is to simply be open to the stranger. Even though I am an extrovert I can be afraid of people that I do not know. I look forward to seeing how this goes with God and what else my heart opens up to while going through this book. I am thankful and encouraged by the thoughts shared so far. Blessings

message 8: by Becky (new)

Becky | 19 comments Like Kyle, my first reaction to this book was that it seems extreme. In further reflection I, like Bee Jay, find myself evaluating this book from the perspective of a later season in life ...

I have enjoyed (again) the reflection on Matt 11:28-30. In considering rest vs. work, I have too often engaged in work by my own strength rather than relying on Him to bear the yoke with me. For several years I have been asking God to help me work from a place of rest. I continue to seek that balance of relying on His empowerment and the discernment of saying yes to the best among many good options of how I may spend my time and energy for Him, and with Him.

message 9: by Robin (new)

Robin | 21 comments I like the idea of being open to experiment with acts of obedience to Jesus' teachings. Often, in the course of my days, I will notice an opportunity and it is my choice whether or not I will respond to it. When I was younger, it seems it was harder to notice - now it seems easier to just sort of practice the way of love. To not make it harder than it needs to be, but just be open to what comes to me in the events of the day.

message 10: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (strock) | 1 comments I'm wishing we had a Have2Give1 group here where we live. My husband and I felt called to move to a little town where we felt God urging us to care and minister to the people there. We have been here 9 months and are still getting settled, but the question of community keeps coming back over and over again. Who is our community we're collaborating and moving/serving with? It has not been revealed. Nor do I think it will easily be. I appreciate Sacndrette's perspective that "community is not the best goal in itself—it is the byproduct of shared vision, activities, practices and commitments... Community can’t be manufactured, nor is it instantaneous. True community develops over time, through patience, love and mutual commitment."
The energy and active thinking in this book is difficult to stomach when you really want to be doing things but we don't really feel we have a place to start. We have found ourselves visiting new churches only to feel awkward by not being the leaders there, since this was our role for the past 20 years. And now, we just wait on God to direct us to start moving, experimenting. We feel like we've been obedient in leaving our nice Silicon Valley life and reducing much space, property, removing ourselves from our current community and church in order to follow him. This book has been timely and helpful for me right now.

message 11: by Bee Jay (new)

Bee Jay | 16 comments Patricia wrote: "I'm wishing we had a Have2Give1 group here where we live. My husband and I felt called to move to a little town where we felt God urging us to care and minister to the people there. We have been ..."
Prayers, Patricia! It is so hard to move out and trust! Are you familiar with the Celtic Christian tradition of "peregrinatio"? The Celtic monks would set off from shore in a small coracle -- a light shell of a boat without oars or rudder -- and trust the Spirit to move them to the Spirit's destination! It's sometimes called a pilgrimage without a destination! You might want to google Celtic Christianity and find some inspiration there.

message 12: by Kara (new)

Kara | 9 comments I have had a rather mixed reaction to the first two chapters. On one hand I am intrigued and excited by the ideas but on the other I have felt significant anxiety.

My field is Adult Education and I have been seeking for the last several years to understand where the Adult Learning processes I use to train fit with facilitating Spiritual transformation. I have observed that it seemed that much of what the body of Christ invests in does little to bring about real Christlikeness. Mark's observations therefore ring true for me - I know that in my own life it has been in those times of stepping out and doing what is least comfortable I have met Jesus and seen Him change my life.

However there are so far a couple of cautions for me. One is from my personal history where I was part of a group that had a similar approach and while I experienced significant growth I also got badly burnt as the group ended up being destructive and cult-like - so I am sensitive to this.

The second is that I felt overwhelmed by the expectations of being "active" when I am just learning to rest.

Like many of you who have written so far I can't even begin to imagine where I would find people who would have inclination great enough to create time for something like this. I live in South Asia where family over-rides everything else and it is rarely possible to get people to participate in a purely social activity let alone something that involves personal cost.

So I leave this first week unsettled - and maybe that was Mark's intention to rock our boats a little. It will be interesting to see where my boat gets rocked this week!

message 13: by Martha (new)

Martha Cornelius | 10 comments I can relate to Kara's unsettle ness . That is how the reading of this book so far has affected me. I do believe I need to act on what Christ is teaching me here and now. That has been difficult at times. It makes me nervous to become to legalistic and rule bond because I have a tendency to do that. I praying God will show me the way with this book. God bless you all and keep you and show you his face.

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