Thursday, January 22, 2015

21. Significant and Wonderful (We Make the Road by Walking)

King David and the prophet Nathan
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 felt you experienced a miracle, or when you prayed for a miracle that never came.

3.  How do you respond to the literary approach that looks for meaning in miracle stories?  Can you apply it to some other miracle stories?

4.  If you could have a magical power, what would it be, and why?

Activate

5.  Keep these two miracle stories in mind throughout this week, and see if they bring new insights to situations you face.

Meditate

6.  Hold in silence the image of an empty ceremonial stone container being filled with water that is transformed to wine.  Hear the sound of water filling to the brim.  See the water change in color, and taste the change in flavor as it becomes wine.  Hear the sound of people celebrating in the background.  Sit with the words empty, full, and transformed.  See what prayer takes shape in your heart.

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

20. Join the Adventure! (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 you went through some hardship or temptation that prepared you for a later opportunity, or a time when you missed an opportunity because you were unprepared.

3.  How do you respond to the idea that you can be captivated by the expectations of your loyal fans and intimidated by the threats of your hostile critics?  Which is a greater danger for you?

4.  What's something you can't do right now that you hope you will be able to do someday?  What will you have to learn in order to do that thing?

Activate

5.  This week, write the word disciple in prominent places to remind yourself of Jesus' invitation to you.

Meditate

6.  In silence, imagine Jesus calling your name and saying two words:  Follow me.  Allow that invitation to stir a response in you at the deepest part of your being.

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

Thursday, January 15, 2015

19. Jesus Coming of Age (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 the story of your baptism or some other initiation experience you've had.

3.  How do you respond to this explanation of John the Baptist and baptism?  In breaking with tradition, what kind of challenges do you think he encountered?

4.  When you think of a dove and a lamb, what do you think of?

Activate

5.  This week, look for every chance to "grow in wisdom" by listening, learning, and asking questions.

Meditate

6.  Imagine God asking you, "What one thing would you like me to do for you?"  As Solomon asked for wisdom, hold one request up to God in silence.  Then, receive God's message to Jesus as a message to you by saying these words, silently or aloud, one time or several times:  "[Your name], you are my child, whom I dearly love.  In you I find pleasure."  Finally, make these words your own:  "I am [my name], your child, whom you dearly love.  In me you find pleasure."

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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

18. Sharing Gifts (We Make the Road by Walking)

Posted on January 6 (Epiphany), represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12).
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 of a meaningful encounter you've had with a member of another religion.  Who might be today's Magi — people from other religions (or no religion) who honor Jesus without wanting to leave the religion into which they were born?

3.  How do you respond to the idea that members of different religions can see one another as neighbors with whom to exchange gifts rather than as enemies or competitors?

4.  What was one of your favorite Christmas presents that you received or that you gave?  Why was it your favorite?

Activate

5.  This week, look for someone of another faith to spend some time with.  Get to know them.  Learn about their tradition.  Ask them what they value in their heritage, and answer any questions they ask about yours.  Perhaps tell them the story of the Magi.

Meditate

6.  In silence, think of the different religions in today's world.  Hold in your heart the idea that each has gifts to give and each can receive gifts, too.  Conclude your meditation with a prayer.

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

Sunday, December 7, 2014

17A. The Light Has Come (We Make the Road by Walking)

Engage

This chapter is different, as McLaren suggests having a candle-lighting ceremony.  If you are doing this alone, maybe you could light one or several candles, sing or hum or listen to some appropriate music, and think of words that remind you of light, peace, life, vitality, and aliveness.  Words I (Bonnie) thought of are relatedness, enlightenment, reconciliation, service, grace, and radiance.  Let there be light!

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

Edited to add this video for our face-to-face discussion of this chapter on December 15th.



If this video quits working, view it on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEH38evSbME
Bind us together, Lord,
Bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord,
Bind us together,
Bind us together with love.


Our candles will be lit in memory of Lowell Uda, a retired United Methodist pastor, who died December 9, 2014.  Lowell loved music and had us singing with him in the hospital.  His wife is a member of our small study buddies group.  Singing "Bind us together with love" will remind us we are all one — and cords of love "cannot be broken."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

17. Surprising 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 shady or colorful character from your family history.

3.  How do you respond to this approach to the meaning of "son of God"?

4.  Imagine you are a shepherd in the time of Jesus.  What do you think your life would be like?

Activate

5.  This week, look for surprising people to whom you can show uncommon respect and unexpected kindness.

Meditate

6.  After lighting a candle, hold the words "good news of great joy for all people" in your heart in God's presence for a few moments of silence.  Break the silence with a short prayer.

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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

16. Keep Herod in Christmas (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 were a child and an adult other than a parent showed you great respect or kindness.

3.  How do you respond to Matthew's decision to include this story that none of the other gospels recount?

4.  What one thing would you ask grown-ups to do to help kids?

Activate

5.  This week, try to look at personal and political situations from the vantage point of how they will affect children and their mothers.

Meditate

6.  Light a candle, and hold in your mind both the image of Herod, ruthless and power-hungry, and the image of Jesus, a vulnerable baby.  Observe what happens in your heart and express a prayer in response.

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