Nov 13, 2010

Journaling with the Masters

This semester, I am taking a class called History of Christian Spirituality. The major assignment for this class has been reading Invitation to Christian Spirituality edited by John Tyson. This is a book that is a collection of readings from different Christian Writers from every century. It goes back as early as Ignatius of Antioch and as recent as Bishop Desmond Tutu. It is a fantastic read. I would warn you, however, if you decide to read it, that it is not something you just want to pick up and power your way through. It's really something that you will want to chew on.

Although it was assigned to me, I have had the privilege of reading through this book and journaling through it as well. I have spent the last two and a half months reflecting on the thoughts of Christians from the second century all the way through the twentieth century. Not every reading was easy. Some of them were very foreign to my Christian Experience because the include descriptions of visions and practices that I have never heard of or tried. Other readings were hard because they confronted my very comfortable 21st century Christianity and caused me to approach my faith in a new light.

If you haven't ever ventured into Church history, I would encourage you to try reading something from a different time period. It means that you will probably have to read something from a denomination or tradition that is not your own. It is a stretching experience, but you will be better because of it. There is a wealth of Christian wisdom waiting to be discovered in the fathers and mothers of the Christian faith.

I am really excited that my time in church history isn't over yet. My "homework" continues for the next month as I read from a spiritual master. I'll be reading from St. Basil of Caesarea and I'm sure that I'll share some of the wisdom gleaned from his writings.

I hope that you can find or have found someone who has gone before to learn from their wisdom.
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