Friday, October 1, 2010

Have You Stopped Dreaming Too?

Just found out today that The Simple Way, best known for member Shane Claiborne and his books (i.e. Irresistible Revolution, Jesus for President, etc.), has completed an 5 year project called Common Prayer.  This is a liturgical prayer book that includes morning prayers for every day of the year, a midday prayer to be repeated every day, and a week's cycle of evening prayers.  It is coordinated with the liturgical calendar as well as important dates of world events where justice and freedom has been won, pursued, or sacrificed for.  There is supposed to be original art work as well as ancient and contemporary hymns included.

This book is the fruit of a community that refused to accept the dichotomy of activism and contemplation.  Some movements/groups want to sell everything for the sake of service and doing to the exclusion of balance, rhythm, rest, and deep prayer.  Other want to cloister themselves for worship, Bible study, prayer, etc. to the forfeit of working redemption in a world longing to breath free.  The Simply Way has taken seriously the way of Jesus that says one cannot exist without the other.  I consider this way of prayer transformissional.

Yes, that is a made up word (by: Ogne and Roehl).  It brings together the desire for spiritual practices that transform us and the mission of being empowered by God to set the captives free (Lk 4).  This book is the result of and will promote transformissional prayer.  Prayer is about connecting with God, yes.  But if that connection does not lead to works of mission for the Kingdom, one may need to ask if this way is the Jesus way or, to borrow from Christian Smith, just Moral Therapeutic Deism.  The latter kind of prayer affirms and supports religion's tendency for insulation and isolation.  The kind of prayer I think this book will inspire is that kind that can teach the church to dream again.

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
       Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
       your old men will dream dreams,
       your young men will see visions.

 Even on my servants, both men and women,
       I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
(Joel 2/Acts 2)

Transformissional prayer trains our imagination to dream Kingdom dreams, to see not what the world has become but what it can be by the power of God through His church.  I would like to abandon prayer that makes me yawn to embark on the kind that will allow me to learn to dream again... how bout you?

The book Common Prayer is to be released in November, in time for Advent.  As a person who has recently discovered and been revolutionized by liturgical prayer, and as a person who hungers to conform to God's mission in the world, I am thrilled by this project.

Check out this link for a sample to download.

I would love to hear about other ways you are seeing mission and spirituality greet one another with a holy kiss.  How do we walk the narrow path without falling into to the ravines of therapeutic spirituality or fragile activism?

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