Monday, October 03, 2011

October – focus on Discipleship

After my visit to Taizé, I've been attempting - with varied success - to reform my prayer life. As part of this project I purchased Common Prayer, and though I've found it helpful I still struggle with regular prayer, along with all other routines.

The book has come out of the New Monastic movement, and each of the twelve marks of neomonasticism is featured each month. Perhaps fitting the commemoration of Francis of Assisi tomorrow is this month's focus on radical discipleship. The prayers and readings emphasise the common root of both 'discipleship' and 'discipline' and of taking the teaching of Jesus seriously. I've taken up their recommended reading of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's classic Discipleship, which makes this link even clearer. The book opens with a stinging rebuke of cheap grace, so brilliant and compelling it's hard to not quote here more fully, to illustrate clearly what is the antithesis of discipleship. But for now, this will do:
Cheap grace means grace as doctrine, as principal, as system. It means forgiveness of sins as a general truth; it means God's love is merely a Christian idea of God...
Cheap grace means justification of sin but not of the sinner. Because grace alone does everything, everything can stay in its old ways...
So the Christian need not follow Christ, since the Christian is comforted by grace!
[Emphasis added]

My aim is not only to get through the book this month (not as easy as it sounds with two weeks plus on the road), but to more fully realize my original intent of having a more stable and intentional prayer life, a framework to more effectively fit my work into.

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