Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Lengthening our Memory 9

posted by Scot McKnight


Pantocrator.jpg

This post concludes our series with Chris Hall, author of Worshiping With the Church Fathers
, a book that examines how the earliest fathers — theologians and pastors and leaders — understood spirituality. Eucharist and baptism, prayer, and withdrawal are Hall’s major themes.

His last chp examines what the fathers learned when the withdrew into the desert, and it leads me to a set of questions:
Have you ever had a period of withdrawal? What did you learn? What did you expect and what did you gain? Any wisdom?

The desert was a school room, a cell, a church, a garden and a cemetery.
In essence, it was a place where many sought to find the center of life, to re-center themselves on God, and to find new perspective on the spinning of the world around us. In fact, Hall says the goal was to learn to love God and to love others in returning to ordinary life. This involved embracing the truth about themselves.
So the desert involved these things:

1. A movement from self-deception to self-awareness.
2. It was a training ground for good works.
3. It was exercise in spiritual warfare.
Hall closes with a sketch of desert fathers’ sayings:
On quiet, on not judging, on lust, on patience and fortitude, and on discretion.
This is a good book; it’s been a good ride through Hall’s sketch of the spirituality of the fathers.


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David

posted February 15, 2010 at 12:50 am


Sure I’ve withdrawn. But usually not for holy reasons. I have been selfish. I have been hurt. I have been prideful.
I pulled back. And always, God brings me home and I’m the better man for it. But it isn’t always easy
David
Red Letter Believers
Salt and Light
http://www.redletterbelievers.com



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Elling

posted February 15, 2010 at 3:23 am


One thing I’ve found when withdrawing is that my whole system needs some time to adjust to the rythm that follows such days. Even to the point that I can’t sleep until middle of the night the first day because my body is not used to so little activity. Wich I guess is a good point on the way to self-awareness.



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Pat

posted February 15, 2010 at 11:09 am


I agree with Elling. Usually when I do withdraw, I’m physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted (as I am now) and it takes a while for the body and mind to adjust. But the rest is needful and once I get that and get some refreshment, I have a renewed sense of purpose and sometimes I get some things resolved (decisions, bad feelings, etc.). The Lord is certainly faithful to meet us. I’m in the midst of a very busy time at church, but I’ve decided to withdraw next week and will not be attending any meetings. Others can make decisions and lead in my absence and it’s actually a good thing to do for the ego, lest I find myself getting all wrapped up in the process thinking that “I can’t take time off now” and “I must be there”. Hogwash! Maybe me stepping away from the process is actually what is needed at this time–not just for me but for the good of the process and for others.



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