The first book we are discussing in this format is Brian McLaren’s We make the Road by Walking. This format may not work, but we’ll give it a try. Click on the MENU and pick the chapter for discussion.
There are several reasons for choosing this book this year. We recently had a capital campaign with the tagline: “Restore, Renew, Rejoice!” We’ve done a lot of restoration with the building, which is all well and good… but I’m more interested in a more biblical usage of the ideas of restoration and renewal.
Psalm 51 is a designated reading for Ash Wednesday – the entrance into the season of Lent. As we read, we join with the psalmist in the plea, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me… Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” (Ps. 51.10, 12)
The New Testament authors see renewal through the lens of Christ; the demonstration and embodiment of God’s great Love. Christ is our model. “You were taught to put away your former life, your old self… and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness…” (Eph. 4.22-24)
“and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge… In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” (Col. 3.10-11)
I guess all of this is a way of saying this book is a lead-in to personal spiritual development. Lent is historically the season for scriptural study and teaching. The light around us slowly lengthens daily as we head toward springtime. We are tasked to undertake strengthening the light within us as we move into the increasing light of Easter.
From McLaren’s Preface: “The title suggests faith was never intended to be a destination, a status, a holding tank or a warehouse. Instead it was to be a road, a path, a way out of old destructive patterns into new and creative ones. The road of faith is not finished. There is beautiful land ahead.”
The study group is actually two groups: face-to face meeting at dinnertime (5:30-6:30) and those who are following with us each week but cannot attend in person. This format will allow everyone to connect to each other in community.
We began last spring reading at Part III “Alive in a Global Uprising” This is the section that begins in Lent. You will have noted that the book is set up to cover the entire church year. We are committing to at least from chapter 27 (Ash Wednesday) to 33 (Easter). Ideally we would continue on to Pentecost at chapter 39 to complete Part III. Continuing beyond that is also an option we will consider.
We are continuing on this fall up to Advent and we are beginning at the beginning! Part 1 chapter 1.
We are a circle / Of learners and seekers / Alive in God’s story of creation.
We are disciples / who follow our leader / Alive in the adventure of Jesus.
We are uprising / in a new way of living / Transformed by the Spirit of God.
This link goes to an audio podcast “Into the Mystic” by Rev. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the UCC.
I encourage you spend 5 minutes and listen in.