Apprenticeship With Jesus: Day 28

For Lent, I am walking us through a book called Apprenticeship With Jesus by Gary W. Moon. You can follow along by reading my highlights and reflections. Extensive previews of the book, including excerpts, can be found through Google Books and Amazon, as well as eBook purchasing options.

Day 28:  Eating A Balanced Diet: Six Streams of Christian Spirituality

–   There are six great Christian traditions and their emphasis can be traced back to Jesus and his practices. The six traditions are: Contemplative (prayer filled life), Holiness (virtuous life), Charismatic (spirit empowered life), Social Justice (compassionate life), Evangelical (Word filled life), and Incarnational (sacramental life).

–  Just as we need a balanced nutritional diet, we also need a balanced spiritual diet drawing from all of the traditions.

I came across the idea of the six great traditions about ten years ago when I was just beginning this spiritual formation quest. Richard Foster’s book Streams of Living Water details how a believer in Christ should cultivate all of the traditions and not just the one that they are most familiar with based upon their spiritual heritage or personal tendencies. Each tradition has a great gift to offer Christians and it has enriched my life to not only cultivate all of the traditions but to learn about them and how God has impacted the world through them. You will not be able to have a full Christian spiritual life if you do not have an understanding of  the life changing power of all the traditions.

Apprentice Activity: Eating a Balanced Diet

–  {I am going to modify Moon’s activity a bit for the purpose of this blog} Visit this site set up by the Renovare organization. Click on each of the six traditions and read the brief summary of the tradition.

– As you read the descriptions of each tradition, find the two that you least identify with and read one of the additional articles provided under that tradition. If any ideas or activities are mentioned for that tradition, make a decision to practice those this week.

– Read Colossians 3: 1-17 and then ponder verse 14 –  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

In this section of the book, Moon provides a scale, along with a description, for each of the traditions. The reader is asked to identify on a scale of 1-5 where they fall for that particular tradition. Surprisingly, based on the descriptions given, my two lowest scores were for the Evangelical tradition and the Social Justice tradition. I say surprisingly because I come from an Evangelical background and have spent many hours in a Social Justice ministry. Still, the emphasis on Bible reading in the Evangelical tradition is something that I struggle with and could improve upon; and the intentional acts of service to those less fortunate is something I often do not make time for. I am going to seek out ways to work on these two areas.

What is Jesus teaching me? There is just so much to learn. No wonder the disciples seem so dull and out of it half the time. They were having to learn so much in such a short amount of time that they missed the mark on some key items along the way. I am learning to be patient with my growth and to be in expectation as to what grand things I will be able to learn next. Frustration and impatience is not going to make me more like Christ. Trust and patience is the best approach to spiritual formation.

Do you ever think that you are making little progress with your spiritual life? Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is working around you and drawing you towards Christ?

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