A New Topical Adventure

Having completed our survey of forgiveness, it’s time to move on in a different, yet similar direction, this time to a survey of spiritual disciplines or practices. If you actually undertake to study this subject, you will find that it can be quite involved, for spiritual disciplines have been practiced for thousands of years by Jews, and from the very beginning of the Church. You will also discover that in certain historical periods spiritual practices existed that we today would likely consider barbaric and crazy, particularly in the Middle Ages.

In more recent times, a number of the older practices have been dropped by most Christian brotherhoods, things from earlier times such as self-flagellation for instance aren’t practiced in the Christian mainstream today.

Yet, many practices remain.

Depending on who you ask, there may be 14 or 15, or 25-30. Scholars place these in various categories such as Inward Disciplines and Out ward Disciplines, or as Disciplines of Abstinence and Disciplines of Engagement. For our purposes however, I’m going to let others worry about what to call them, how to place each one into a chart and to argue over what should and what should not be counted. Instead, I thought I’d pick an even dozen of the best-known classics such as prayer, meditation, silence, solitude, fasting and… well you get the idea. After that, I thought I’d cover another category of Spiritual Practices that are usually not included in the Classical lists which I would call “Expressive” Spiritual Practices that I think you are likely to find of interest, before we complete our adventure.

With that in mind, we’ll get started with prayer tomorrow, right here: See you then!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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11 Responses to A New Topical Adventure

  1. Looking forward to them.

    Be blessed. God is in a good mood.

  2. Tom says:

    Looking forward to this set of studies Don. I’m expecting, as always, that they will be great! You are a great teacher.

  3. vw1212 says:

    Haven’t followed up who got dropped; was it because of extreme grace being preached now? vw
    would love if you could do a post on these folks and their history…

    • Don Merritt says:

      The ones that aren’t really practiced any more in the mainstream are largely practices involving the infliction of pain and mutilation to achieve forgiveness of sins and to take away extreme guilt associated with sin. Yes, in a fairly large part it wouyld have to do with grace being preached, since that is certainly not a concept that was popular in the Middle Ages. It also has to do with the change in culture, an increase in literacy and the fact that such practices today would get a person thossed into a mental health facility, or in jail.

  4. photojaq says:

    Scrolling back through my emails, I see that I missed this post. I quickly clicked on it, wondering what your would be writing about in A New TROPICAL Adventure! Hawaii? Fiji?
    Goes to show, you shouldn’t skim, at least sometimes.

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