Passionate Discipleship

Summer 2009 Edition

Fellow travellers, the spiritual journey is long and uncertain; it doesn't always feel regenerative. If we stop to be honest, don't we feel lost some of the time? In search of guidance our Watershed Community spent part of last year studying the ancient philosophical school of Stoicism. What does this wisdom tradition have to say to us?


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The time-tested Stoic approach to the art of post-modern living, we found, has merits: self-restraint in the face of rampant consumerism, an eye to living virtuously, and an acknowledgement of our inner bent for selfish revenge and comfort-driven indulgences. Its description of our problem though seemed more apt than its prescription. By the end of our study, we concluded that passionate discipleship in the way of Christ, still mostly untried, seems to have more potential for living life congruent with spiritual reality than a strictly philosophical approach.

Where Stoicism hopes to silence our unruly passions, Christ seeks to redeem and incorporate our desires into a life lived joyfully amidst the suffering in our own lives, and in the world around us. The crux is not in the desiring, but that we tend to settle for lesser idols rather than a dynamic relationship with Christ. The regeneration happens when we have confessed our misguided wants, and allowed the Spirit to breathe life into us.

Discipleship in our community approaches passionate when our anxious minds and disturbed spirits have been calmed by a clarity of the applied Word to our lives. When our hearts have been opened by truth-telling that involves the Spirit, and not just tales of self-justification. When our working, eating and laughing together have a whiff of the joy of God. "I have no greater joy than this, to hear about my children walking in truth" (3 John 1:4).

Martin Buber said: "The world is not understandable; it is embraceable." In Christian translation, our aim is to hear the 'yes' of Christ in the complex weavings of our minds and hearts, and in the world around us, and embrace it! This edition is dedicated to hearing that passionate 'yes' in the books we are reading, in the movies we watch, and in the paintings we paint -- in the very lives we want to live guided by the divine dance that is God.

In Lydia Penner's Review of God's Beloved, peek into a room through which God's light shined, the remarkable life that was Henri Nouwen.

Read Arthur Paul Patterson's Response to The Shadow Year, a time-warping chronicle of the lives of three children living in a dysfunctional family during the 1960's.

Ponder with Verda Henrichs the meaning of Emotional Integrity stemming from Robert C. Solomon's book, The Passions.

In The First Call is to Listen, guest writer Len Hjalmarson invites readers to consider the imperative of listening in any spiritual vocation.

Guest writer Brenda Korinek's Blind Spots asks us to consider the benefits of discovering our spiritual blinders on our quest to connect with the Sacred.

Overhear Watershed's study of Luke Timothy Johnson's lecture Discussing the Role of Christian Experience as narrated by Lorna Derksen.

Reflect along with Linda Tiessen Wiebe in Towards a Theology of Watching Movies.

Lorna Derksen writes of the surprising boon of her trip to the West Coast in Vancouver Journey.

Reflecting on her journey to San Francisco, Linda Tiessen Wiebe invites us into the mystery of Life's Labyrinth.

Lydia Penner goes in search of wintering Monarch butterflies and discovers a personal word: It's Not About Me.

During Watershed's study of the apostle Paul's first epistle, Linda Tiessen Wiebe writes Love Each Other More: Summary of Paul and The Thessalonians.

In preparation for a writing retreat, Lyle Penner asks his fellow pilgrims the deceptively simple question, What Calls You To Watershed?

For a university assignment, Joel Penner considers the transformative influences in his life in Perceptual Metamorphoses.

 

Also In This Edition

During the study of Stoicism, a few Watersheddians went to downtown Winnipeg to find out what people on the street thought of Happiness. Their responses may surprise you!

In our Audio section, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, we include clips from our Thessalonians studies.

We've added some new pictures for meditation in Icons for our Time .

In Every Turn the Centre, Bev Patterson reflects on her painting that became the thematic graphic for this edition.

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