Category: Faith

To Think About: A Practices Audit

Especially Traditions, Everyday Traditions, Faith, Paideia January 29, 2016

So, the question is, Are there habits and practices that we acquire without knowing it? Are there ritual forces in our culture that we perhaps naively immerse ourselves in–and are thus formed by–that, when we consider them more closely, are pointed at some ultimate end? Are there mundane routines that we participate in that, if we are attentive, function as thick practices aimed at a particular vision of the good life?

To get at this requires quite a bit of patient reflection and analysis, both introspective and communal. Consider taking some time this week to engage in a bit of self-inventory > a “practices audit” < perhaps journaling about it. Then talk about these issues with friends. Use the following questions as prompts:

  • What are some of the most significant habits and practices that really shape your actions and attitude–what you think and what you do?
  • What does your time look like? What practices are you regularly immersed in each week? How much time is spent doing different sorts of activities?
  • What do you think are the most important ritual forces in your life? And if you were honest with yourself, are these positive (forming you into the kind of person who embodies the kingdom of God) or negative (forming you into someone whose values and desires are antithetical to that kingdom, oriented toward another kingdom)?
  • What do you think are some of the most potent practices in our culture? Or, if you have kids, what are the culture forces that you don’t want your children shaped by? And why on both counts?
  • If you step back and reflect on them, are there some habits and practices that you might have originally thought were neutral or thin, but upon further reflection, you see them as thicker and more significant?
  • Is there any way in which you see worship as a thick habit? How so? How not?
  • If Christain worship is a thick practice, what do you think are its most significant “competitors”?

J A M E S  S M I T H | DESIRING THE KINGDOM (Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation)

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Life Together

Faith July 29, 2015

“Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than that service reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.”

“It may be that Christians, not withstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!”

Excerpts from ‘Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community’
by D I E T R I C H  B O N H O E F F E R