Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Last week I had the pleasure of attending a day long workshop for up and coming clergy in the canidacy process. Our bishop, Dick Wills, led the morning devotional/prayer time. He talked about the need for Christian practices to feed our souls and promote a healthy spiritual life.

I really appreciated the fact that he seems extremely concerned about the welfare and nurture of pastors. Here are some of his thoughts on what he "expects" pastors to do:
1. A daily time of reading scripture and allowing it to be what we live "out of". (I'll come back to this one)
2. A weekly sabbath time. He encouraged pastors to take at least one day off every week, no matter what.
3. A 2 day retreat (48 hours apart and away) from church, once a month to focus on spiritual growth and rejuevenation.
4. A 1 month sabbatical with pay once every quadrennium.

I thought his ideas sounded great and I am definitely in favor of them (who wouldn't be?). Although some "soon to be pastors" said, "Bishop, this sounds great but if we have 3 point charges with pastoral care responsibilities."

The Bishop followed up by stating that each one of us has to work within our on contexts and look for ways to incorporate these practices into our lives. He used the word "habit" quite a bit too- that forming spiritual habits help to inform the way we live our lives for God and others. I thought that was a great remark.

Now the thing that I really liked more than anything was THE LIFE JOURNAL. The Life Journal is something that Bishop Wills has been doing for years. In it is a one year reading plan for the entire Bible with daily scripture readings and then a formula for journaling called the "S.O.A.P." method.
S-scripture: you write down a small section of the scripture that speaks to you.
O- observation: what you saw in the scripture
A- application: you write down how you will live out the passage today in your life
P- prayer: you write a prayer asking for guidance and then scan your prayer list.

The SOAP formula seems to be very close to traditional lectio divina, which I think is why I was really impressed by the Bishops plug for this journal. I bought one that day and today I used it for the first time. I'll let you know what I think about it in a few weeks.

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