Spirituality with Clothes On?

A new book by this title ends with this question, “How will you put together the clothing of your life with the wardrobe of Christ?”

It’s a great question to ponder, even if you haven’t read about the ways the language of faith you grew up with, your gender, personality, life stage, family systems, and your broader cultural historical contexts impact the faith you live by.

That’s the kind of stuff that Gareth Brandt thinks about when he writes about the clothing of our lives. Then he adds  the impacts of changing culture, of living in a consumerist economy and of facing our own woundedness, thereby making a strong case for an experience clothed spirituality.

While I agree with the case he makes, it does provide one with a full wardrobe of clothing to consider! It’s a wardrobe that can feel heavy, especially if one reads right through the book  and tries out the whole wardrobe at once. It would be better to try it on and think about this wardrobe in chunks with others.

And yet, we do live our lives under the influences of all these factors!  They are the stuff that makes us into the diverse, fascinating, and frustrating creatures we are. The cover artist illustrated this multiplicity by using a patchwork quilt. While created from many different patches, each quilt is unique and has it’s own beauty and practicality.  That’s a helpful image. What kind of quilt has grown up around your soul?  Hmm.

From this focus on the self, Gareth culminates his wise study book with a focus on the compassionate and loving clothing of Christ, as described in Colossians 3: 12-17. No matter what kind of quilt we are wrapped up in, we can all grow into greater compassion, humility, patience, forgiveness, love, and peace. These values create a uniting overcoat which has the potential to transform us into signs of God’s reign on earth; signs into which we can all grow with all our individuality.

I recommend this book for small groups who are willing to explore both their spirituality and their experiential wardrobes. But, be warned. You might feel a little naked as you explore this clothing.

Posted in Book Reviews, Clothing, community, Differently abled spirituality, Pastoral Psychology, spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

He is risen, indeed

P1020304

The children in this group retelling of the resurrection are truly inspiring. Enjoy!

http://www.storydivine.com/?p=198

Posted in Child Faith, Church season, Easter, Intergenerational worship, Scripture telling | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

4 poorly known Holy Week days

P1000197

Last Sunday w as Palm Sunday. Christians know it’s donkeys, palm branches and cloaks well. Soon it will be Maundy Thursday, with the Lord’s Supper and the Arrest of Jesus. We know it well, too.

But do we know what Jesus was up to in Jerusalem between Sunday and Thursday evening? That question became important for me this year, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was important for the writers of the Gospels as well.

Hear are some of the details from that week, according to Mark, chapters 11,12,13, and 14.

  • Jesus cleanses the temple and tells the sellers they’ve made it into a den of robbers.
  • Jesus tells parables about wicked tenants, about sons whose actions matter more than their words, and fig trees.
  • Jesus cleverly responds to trick questions about paying taxes,the resurrection and the greatest commandment.
  • Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple, warns of coming persecutions and tribulations sometimes expected to precede the end.
  • Jesus receives and praises the lavish anointing by an unnamed woman.

These are the words and actions of Jesus that Mark considered important preparation for learning about the rest of Holy Week. It is not hard to see that such actions and words could anger the religious leaders. I wonder if that’s why he included them?

Most of his first disciples stuck with him, at least until he was arrested. I wonder what you and I would have done, back then. Now that we know, I hope we will be strengthened to stay with Jesus, by whom we are so well known, as  we remember him going through the dark days that led to Easter.

 

Posted in Church season, Lent, Palm Sunday, Scripture telling | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Strategies for Choosing Faith Instead of Worry

Do you feel like it’s your duty to worry? I sometimes do. but I’m going to try to use these strategies instead.

Three Strategies for Choosing Faith Instead of Worry.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mark 11: Telling the Palm Sunday Story Together

Here’s a fresh and appropriate way to engage children in scripture telling for Palm Sunday,

Mark 11: Telling the Palm Sunday Story Together.

Blessings in the name of the Lord.

Posted in Abuse survivors, blogging, Child Faith, Church season, Congregational life, faith practices, Lent, Palm Sunday, Scripture telling | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Facing Dark Mountains

This Blog post from Practicing Parents includes a powerful story for all of us who need courage to face the next challenge, but it also reminded me of the blessings I used to get from engaging deeply with a  class of children in third grade.

Facing Dark Mountains.

Posted in Book Reviews, Child Faith, Child Theology, community, Confession, faith practices, intergenerational | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Lent Extravaganza!

20150309_202841_resized

This week, in the middle of Lent, when Lent seemed to be getting a little long in the tooth, a creative team from BC’s Frazer Valley helped me delve deeply into the texts of Lent 2016. Why? Because this is the way Leader magazine draws on the resources of Mennonite pastors and lay leaders to create worship resources.

It was quite a dive, and I’m still coming up for air. I expect they are doing the same.We introduced ourselves, worshipped, read seven weeks worth of Lectionary texts together, pondered and prayed alone, and then plunged into the work of mining the texts for themes and images that speak into our current contexts.

Songs, video clips, and laughter surfaced among the words. Good food fuelled  bodies and spirits as relationships grew. Then we dove down again, trying to imagine the context in which next year’s Lent will find our church. Passions were kindled to speak the right words into what we predicted to be uncertain and challenging places.

And so the search for the sticky and timely themes continued. Draft 2, draft 3, sleep on it, test it again. Give and take, and an image that resonated in all our hearts and minds started emerging.

Tasks were claimed and affirmed, process described and deadlines set. Trust and respect for each other and the task grew deeper as we blessed each other and the writer’s retreat drew to a close. What a draining, and holy, inspiring task.  This must be one of the things Godly Play looks like for adults. Time for a group selfie, I’d say.

Posted in community, Creating, faith practices, intergenerational, Lent, Prayer, Vocation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment