Holy Habits: Spirituality for the 21st Century
Speaking of the Christian life as one of discipline and determination, John Cassian (360-463) once commented ‘there is no arrival unless there is a definite plan to go.’ Every human being lives a scheduled life, in terms of home, family and employment. The same is true of the spiritual life. Unless we create time and space for prayer, scripture reading, meditation and worship then we will always find reasons to become distracted. In our Wednesday night bible studies during the fall we are focusing our attention on Holy Habits, using Richard Foster’s classic called Celebration of Discipline. This is a topic which calls for our careful attention.
We must be careful to recognize that some approaches to the spiritual life were developed at a time of greater degrees of leisure time than is available for many people who live in highly stressed worlds of business, travel, and family life where time and space for reflection is at a premium. Furthermore we must remember that people are different in temperament and in circumstance. A melancholic personality will naturally gravitate toward a more contemplative type of spirituality - no single type of spirituality will satisfy everyone. Furthermore, people are at various stages of physical, emotional and spiritual development. They are profoundly affected by the circumstances of life in which they find themselves. The circumstances of the married differ from those of the unmarried, the young are different from the elderly. While each is called to a life of disciplined discipleship, every person is unique and their spiritual pilgrimage is set within a distinctive context.
Peter Adam speaks of a ‘spirituality of simplicity’ where we develop a ‘spirituality of ordinary suburban and urban life.’ This calls for a flexible approach to the spiritual disciplines of prayer etc. realizing that there is no single ‘rule’ which has to be used for evermore or by everyone. The rediscovery of various traditions of spirituality, with their diverse approach to reading scripture and engaging in prayer can be liberating to those who have only followed one particular pattern of devotional life.
Join us on Wednesday evening to explore this significant topic together. You might even like to purchase a copy of Foster’s book to read ahead and have some material to think about after each Wednesday evening.