Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Foster: Chapter 6 - Simplicity

Remember that you will find several of the exercises strange, maybe even somewhat odd to you.  That's normal and even part of the process of growing deeper. 

The best experience for fully appreciating the discipline is to simply read the chapter first without any concern regarding what you will journal.  Take in the discipline itself.  Underline, highlight, put your thoughts in the margin.

We now move toward finishing our first full section:  OUTWARD DISCIPLINES.  
Foster:  Chapter 6:  Simplicity, page 79 in most editions. 
Miller:  Chapter 16, Money - we read in class!

Journaling for The Discipline of Simplicity

1.  What kinds of obstacles to simplicity are you most likely to encounter in your daily routines or way of life?

2.  Foster discusses 3 inner attitudes of simplicity (page 88) and 10 controlling principles for the outward expression of simplicity. List these, then comment on which of these resonate most with you?

3.  PRACTICE of SIMPLICITY: Set aside a "separating the wheat from the chaff" session. Pray for guidance, and think through major areas of responsibility, commitment, or desire in your life, probing for insight into how the practice of simplicity could help you clarify what is important and weed out what is not. Write down your observations and share in your journal.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Journey through Holy Week

Thank you for the good session we enjoyed on Monday looking through each Gospel writer's approach to Holy Week.  As we make our personal journey through this Holy Week, our group plan is to select one of the Gospels and simply read through the narrative from Palm Sunday to Easter.

Choose to read one of the following:
Matthew 21 - 28
Mark 11 - 16
Luke 19:28 - 24:12
John 12:12 - 20:25

As you finish the reading:  Make a brief post sharing the Gospel section you read along with something that really stands out to you; maybe something that you had never noticed before and found meaningful.

FOR Monday, April 17, bring the following to class:
1.  Miller, Blue Like Jazz and Foster, Celebration of Discipline
2.  Your very colorful course Notebook.

A blessed Holy Week and Easter to you,
Gerald Chafin

Friday, March 24, 2017

Worship Seminar - beginning Foster & Miller for Monday, March 27

Our next gathering is Monday, March 27.  For class bring with you the 1.) Foster, 2.) Miller, AND 3.) Webber texts!

As we come into "the second half" of the semester (couldn't resist this weekend's basketball analogy), Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline is, indeed, a classic.  Foster challenges our approach to Christian disciplines in a way that helps us define worship as "way of life."

Next to Foster, we place readings from Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz.  Miller offers us a very honest and refreshingly human view of many of these same disciplines.

Interestingly, our semester has developed in such a way so we can focus on each discipline individually.  This will result in more meaningful experience with each spiritual discipline.  Dive into this process with intent.  Immerse yourself in the exercise of each discipline.

For this session, the reading is:
1.  Foster, Chapter 11, Worship, page 158

2.  Miller, Chapter 17, Worship, page 201

Journaling and Discussion:
1.  Our approach to journaling Foster takes an interesting turn - most chapters will include exercise(s) related to that discipline to assist you in stretching your spiritual muscles around the particular disciplines.  This weekend, choose one idea from the "Steps into Worship" (page 170 in most editions) that you think would be especially helpful for your practice of worship.  Try that idea and afterward write about how it affected your worship experience.

2.  Do a brief "Compare and Contrast" of Foster (chapter 11) and Miller (chapter 17).  What, if any, is the common ground?  What do you come away with from each author?

Soli Deo Gloria,
Gerald Chafin

Thursday, March 23, 2017

For Friday, March 24:

I'm sorry for the delay in posting for our Friday session!  Therefore, let's back up from our original intent and proceed with the following:
1. Simply bring with you these items:  Celebration Hymnal, Blue Like Jazz, and Celebration of Discipline.
2. Finish and turn in the essay we began on Monday.  This is section one of the signature assignment:
Write a detailed description of your journey in worship, describe your background and past.  Include traditions and practices you recall from as far back in your experience as you can remember to the present.  Write about your family-of-origin experiences as well as geographical setting and denominational affiliation(s) to create an understanding of your cultural self-awareness.  Describe significant worshipful experiences.
3. AND, if your schedule allows, please join the LWC Singers for their Spring Tour Home Concert on Thursday evening at Columbia Baptist Church, 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Arts in Worship

We have just read Robert Webber's work, Encountering Christ Through the Arts, which includes these statements:  "Renewing churches are paying attention to the arts, recognizing that worship itself is an art.  Churches most sensitive to the arts are churches that give the arts in a servant role in worship.  Worship is never to be arts-driven, but arts-enhanced."  (Robert Webber, The New Worship Awakening, page 115.)

Share a time in which you encountered Christ through the creative expression of an art form other than music.

Directions for Posting:  Simply click on the "comments" link in box just under this paragraph.  On the next page, use the 3rd option: "Name/URL."  Click at "Name/URL" and type in your name. Nothing is needed in the URL box. Type your introduction in the comments box; then click the publish button. Thank you for sharing!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Worship Seminar - Scheer, Chapter 1, Preparing for Friday, March 3

We begin our third book of the semester! Our reading for the upcoming session is in The Art of Worship by Greg Scheer, chapter 1.  As you read this chapter, put yourself in the role of someone exploring whether to change, or, how to structure your church's music program.  For our journal on this chapter:

1. This chapter is amazingly practical in approaching music in worship.  Therefore, as a practical exercise, create a listing of Sheer's practical tips and suggestions that you see as significant.

2. There is no doubt that Sheer tackles several interesting situations head-on!  For example, just to reference a few:  page 17-18 as well as page 29, plus others!  Choose one of these instances and share your thoughts about the approach taken.  (Consider these "situations" much like the "scenarios" that Rory Noland shared in the Worshiping Artist.)  Do we once again find Sheer to be amazingly practical?  Do you agree or disagree?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Worship Seminar - Webber, Chapter 7, Preparing for Monday, Feb. 27

We move to Webber's chapter 7:  Encountering Christ Through the Arts.  After reading the chapter, begin your journal:

1.  In the second paragraph of the Conclusion one statement in particular connects back to page 39 and our earlier discussions.  Simply type the entire statement as a method of enriching the concept's magnitude in our minds:
"What should be prominent in worship is. . . . . ."

2.  In the same way as #1 above, complete these statements:
     A.  Worship is never to be arts-_____, but arts-______.
     B.  Churches most sensitive to the arts are churches______ . . . 

3.  Share a description of a worship service in which you encountered Christ through the creative expression of an art form other than music.

4 and 5.  The use of arts in worship, based on Scripture:
Because we believe worship should be propelled out of Scripture, select two Scripture passages of your choosing and describe how you would use art forms in worship to enhance the understanding of these passages.  Try using a different art for each, or, try connecting several art forms!

Looking forward to your creative and artistic insights.
Gerald Chafin