Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Re-Imagining Spiritual Formation

In your setting, you're trying to bring this back to a communal structure or a corporate structure. Is that always part of your framework?

Recently we took our whole gathering (Sunday service) and based it around Lectio Divina and drum circle imagery. We used the drum circle as sort of a centering prayer; it has that same function of clearing your mind and allowing you to engage with other people in a collective way rather than an individual way.

Then we used passages about living water from John and Revelation, and we repeated those over and over. We had people reflect on that scripture quietly by themselves, and then we had people break into groups and share their reflections, while the other half of the room did the drum circle. There was also a chorus being sung during that time. So this essentially had three elements, those sharing their reflections, those doing the drum circle, and those singing the chorus. After a while we switched so that everyone in the congregation got the whole experience. It was your own sort of personal interaction, with the meditating on these passages, but it was done in the context of other people, sharing with other people, and all being done with the accompaniment of this centering prayer.

There's a time when it's really important to find your own thought and voice, and then there's a time when it's equally as important to connect to the collective without individualizing everything.

What are some practices that you are re-working and that you think might last over the long haul?

Right now we're doing "prayer postures," which involve using the physical body as a means of prayer. Posture itself leads thinking, mind, and prayer, something like bowing heads, folding hands, etc. We come up with different postures for different prayers, and that allows us to extend the category of things we pray for. Most prayer becomes a very inward kind of thing. Most postures close us in, you close your eyes, bow your head, it's all got a very "closing down" kind of vibe to it. While we utilize plenty of those types of postures as well, but then we add some other postures in that all of a sudden make you pray in directions that you wouldn't otherwise. It's a really nice blend of the "ancient" and the "today."
Source (italics mine)

Boy, that sounds like yoga to me and eastern meditation to me. What is the problem with just praying? Why do you have to repeat something over and over and over? I didn't realize God quit showing Himself to those of us who just pray and read the scripture. I didn't realize I had to beat a drum and say a phrase over and over to approach God. I sure am glad this guy is around to set me straight! (Please note the HEAVY sarcasm)

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