Monday, October 27, 2014

14. Promised Land, Promised Time (We Make the Road by Walking)

Engage

1.  What one thought or idea from today's lesson especially intrigued, provoked, disturbed, challenged, encouraged, warmed, warned, helped, or surprised you?

2.  Share a story about a time when you kept hope or lost hope.

3.  How do you respond to the imagery of Isaiah, and how would you translate some of that imagery from the ancient Middle East into imagery from today's world?

4.  When you were a child, what did you hope to be or do when you grew up?

Activate

5.  Look for discouragement or cynicism in your own thinking.  Challenge yourself to become cynical about your cynicism, and challenge yourself toward prophetic hope.

Meditate

6.  Light a candle and choose one image from the prophets mentioned in this chapter.  Simply hold that image in your heart, in God's presence.  Let it inspire a simple prayer that you may wish to speak aloud.

We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation ~ by Brian D. McLaren, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

First Quarter Queries (We Make the Road by Walking)

If you feel comfortable doing it, compose honest and heartfelt replies to one or more of these queries and share your thoughts with us.

1.  What does it mean to you to live within the story of creation?
2.  What does it mean to you to live within the story of crisis?
3.  What does it mean to you to live within the story of calling?
4.  What does it mean to you to live in a world of captivity and conquest?
5.  What does it mean to you to be part of the great conversation?  What do you learn from the priests, prophets, sages, poets, and storytellers?
6.  In what ways are you integrating into your daily life your identity in God's unfolding story?
7.  What are some significant changes you've experienced from being part of this learning circle?

Monday, October 13, 2014

13. The Great Conversation (We Make the Road by Walking)

Beating a sword into a plowshare (the cutting edge)
Engage

1.  What one thought or idea from today's lesson especially intrigued, provoked, disturbed, challenged, encouraged, warmed, warned, helped, or surprised you?

2.  Share a story about an argument where both sides were partly right.

3.  How do you respond to this vision of the Bible as a library full of difference of opinion, yet carrying on an essential conversation about what it means to be alive?  Which set of voices do you identify with most — priests, prophets, poets, sages, or storytellers?

4.  What's one of your favorite stories — one that you like to hear again and again?  What's your favorite thing about that story?

Activate

5.  Listen for voices who fit in the tradition of the priests, prophets, poets, sages, and storytellers in today's culture.  See if you perceive points of agreement and disagreement with their counterparts in the biblical library.

Meditate

6.  In silence, imagine hearing a vigorous conversation going on.  Then, let the conversation gradually fade away so that silence envelops you.  In that silence, open your heart to God's wisdom.

We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation ~ by Brian D. McLaren, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

12. Stories That Shape Us (We Make the Road by Walking)

Engage

1.  What one thought or idea from today's lesson especially intrigued, provoked, disturbed, challenged, encouraged, warmed, warned, helped, or surprised you?

2.  Share a story about a "golden age" you learned about in your family, your school, or some other group you've been part of.

3.  How do you respond to the comparison between the story of Jesus' departure in Acts and the story of Elijah's departure in 2 Kings?

4.  Do you have a favorite superhero?  Tell us why you like him or her so much.

Activate

5.  Try to read the gruesome story of the Levite's concubine (Judges 19-21) and then the gentle story of Ruth and Naomi (Book of Ruth).  Do you see similar stories in this week's headlines?

Meditate

6.  In silence, hold the phrases "passive, pious complacency," "desperate, violent action," and "faithful, peaceful action" in your mind for a few minutes.  Ask God to make you an agent of faithful, peaceful action.

We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation ~ by Brian D. McLaren, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

11. From Ugliness, a Beauty Emerges (We Make the Road by Walking)

Engage

1.  What one thought or idea from today's lesson especially intrigued, provoked, disturbed, challenged, encouraged, warmed, warned, helped, or surprised you?

2.  Share a story about a movie you've seen or a book you've read that upheld violence as the way to prosperity and peace.  Can you share an alternative movie or story that pointed to a nonviolent way to peace?

3.  How do you respond to Matthew's story of the Canaanite woman in conversation with the Deuteronomy story of Canaanite slaughter?  Can you think of other paired stories like this?

4.  Who do you think is stronger — a person who can punch a bad guy and scare him away, or a person who can convince a bad guy to become good?

Activate

5.  Listen for situations when people use God (or some other "good reason") to justify violence or unkindness.  Try to understand why they would see God and violence this way.  Seek to see the world through their eyes and to imagine how hard it would be for them to see God differently.

Meditate

6.  Hold in silence the tension between a violent worldd and a God who calls us to reconciliation, mutual understanding and respect, and peace.

We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation ~ by Brian D. McLaren, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

10. Getting Slavery Out of the People (We Make the Road by Walking)

Engage

1.  What one thought or idea from today's lesson especially intrigued, provoked, disturbed, challenged, encouraged, warmed, warned, helped, or surprised you?

2.  Share a story about a significant wilderness experience in your life — either literal or figurative.

3.  What do you think it means in today's world to "get the slavery out of the people"?  What kinds of slavery do you think we are still stuck in?

4.  What's the longest trip you've ever taken?  What was one of the best parts of the trip?  What was one of the worst parts?

Activate

5.  Each day this week, reread the Ten Commandments as worded in this chapter.  (Maybe send them to yourself and others via e-mail or social media.)  Look for ways this ancient moral code is relevant in today's world — and in your life.
(1)  Put the God of liberation first, not the gods of slavery.
(2)  Don't reduce God to the manageable size of an idol — certainly not one made of wood and stone by human hands, and not one made by human minds of rituals and words, either, and certainly not one in whose name people are enslaved, dehumanized, or killed!
(3)  Do not use God for your own agendas by throwing around God's holy name.  If you make a vow in God's name, keep it!
(4)  Honor the God of liberation by taking and giving everyone a day off.  Don't keep the old 24/7 slave economy going.
(5)  Turn from self-centeredness by honoring your parents.  (After all, honor is the basis of freedom.)
(6)  Don't kill people, and don't do the things that frequently incite violence, including:
(7)  Don't cheat with others' spouses,
(8)  Don't steal others' possessions, and
(9)  Don't lie about others' behaviors or characters.
(10)  In fact, if you really want to avoid the violence of the old slave economy, deal with its root source — in the drama of desire.  Don't let the competitive desire to acquire tempt you off the road of freedom.
Meditate

6.  Relax for a few moments in God's presence in silence.  Think of the Sabbath not as being deprived of activity, but as a day of liberation from the 24/7 workweek of a slave.  Breathe deep.  Let go.  Thank God for rest.
We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation ~ by Brian D. McLaren, 2014

Thursday, September 4, 2014

9. Freedom! (We Make the Road by Walking)

Engage

1.  What one thought or idea from today's lesson especially intrigued, provoked, disturbed, challenged, encouraged, warmed, warned, helped, or surprised you?

2.  Share a story about how a conflict or rivalry with a family member, friend, or colleague challenged you to face yourself... and God.

3.  Respond to the idea that in revenge, we seek to imitate the person who has wronged us, and that in reconciliation, we imitate and reflect God.

4.  Tell us about someone you had a chance to forgive.

Activate

5.  Look for opportunities for others to "see the face of God" in your face, and seek the face of God in their faces, too — especially those you may see as rivals or outcasts.

Meditate

6.  In silence, ponder forgiveness, and thank God for the joy of being forgiven — and for the release of forgiving others.

We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation ~ by Brian D. McLaren, 2014