Thursday, February 08, 2007

Spiritual Formation Introduction

Hi women friends,

Welcome! I am excited about this spiritual journey together and feel so blessed that you are here! I'm going to make a separate post for each exercise so that we can all tap into the group and the sharing process on our own time tables, as we feel led. First I thought it would be nice to share a little bit of our experiences and/or perceptions about spiritual formation and what we hope to get out of this group. And if you want to share a random fact A) about yourself, or B) about life/anything, and a favorite quote, that would be cool too.

41 comments:

Lori said...

I'm brand (and I mean BRAND) new to the blogging world, but when a group of emergent women started talking spiritual formation, well, I couldn't stay out of it!

I probably came across the term for the first time in Renovare's materials 10+ years ago, though I was technically already on that path, just without a label. Several painful years in my early twenties had served to virtually deconstruct my faith, and I hadn't walked away completely simply because it felt like God wouldn't let go. The process of growing re-acquainted with God entirely redefined my approach to faith, and led me straight to the classic Christian writers. For several years, in fact, I refused to read anything "younger" than 200 years old. Over and over again, I read of lives transformed by the experience of God's love (especially Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross). While I was still unsure exactly what that love was (and occasionally, IF it was) what I read was compelling enough to keep me reading, and practicing. At the time, we joined an evangelical, charismatic Episcopal church (how's that for a blend?!), where it became increasingly clear to me that any true spiritual pursuit must be centered deep in who I am. I can't just adjust behaviors, or apprehend new truths--I want to be radically shaped by my encounter with God.

So for me, spiritual formation centers in this--I am formed, in the very depths of my being, around God's vision for his children. I am shaped by what I experience, by what I learn, by what I practice, but above all, in mysterious ways of which I am completely unaware.

I'd probably be happiest writing a whole book about this, but those are out there, so here's something I'll enjoy even more--hearing how you are being formed! There's nothing quite like walking together towards God and sharing the path.

As for a random fact, I've pierced my nose four times, and never once, despite months and months of crazy treatments, has the piercing ever healed!

And a favorite quote, from the novel "The Sparrow", “The great appeal of Jesus is the willingness of God to walk among the benighted creatures He just can’t seem to give up on. There is a glorious looniness to it—the magnificent eternal gesture of salvation, in the face of perennial, thickheaded human inanity! I like that in a deity.”

Jemila Monroe said...

Hi Lori,

So glad you're here! I will try to post something (other than posts! ;) tomorrow. Right now bed is calling me!

Nancy said...

Hi, Lori and Jemila...and those of you reading but not yet contributing (please do so).

I've been familiar with Richard Foster for many years also. In fact, I gave a talk, using his book "Celebration of Discipline" several years back for a women's breakfast. But I suppose my real draw to the "mystical" came through the book, "The Sacred Romance" by John Eldredge and Brent Curtis. This may be one of my all-time favorite books. The second book that prompted me to develop my own daily routine of journaling, praying and meditating was the second book by Bruce Wilkinson, "The Secret of the Vine" . Once I began to meet with YHWH on a regular basis, things began to escalate. It is very difficult to put into words all that I have learned from these encounters outside of that there is no "one way" to engage with the Divine.

I'm excited to participate in this group because I want to go deeper still and think that there are "streams" I have yet to fully explore. I long to do this with others of like mind and heart. Much of what I have experienced so far, I have experienced alone and so I can't wait to hear what each of you who choose to participate will experience...we will have so much to share!

Amy said...

Hi, All!

The first time I ever heard the term "spiritual formation" was January 2006. Even without the terminology, though, I think this process has been part of my life journey.

This last year and a half has been amazing for me, though. It's sounds kind of weird, but having grown up in the church, I had faith in God, but little interaction with the Divine. Some things didn't make sense and I didn't know what to do about it. I wasn't ready to make waves.

I feel like I've actually come to own my faith and engage in the faith process in a new way. I'm excited to share part of this journey with all of you.

Regarding a random fact, I have three kids (5 1/2, 4 & 2 1/2) so if I ever sound spacey, it's probably because I'm attempting to do blog stuff in the middle of chaos...at least that's a great excuse! :)

Regarding a quote, I have to look that up and come back. :-)

Lydia said...

Hello. My name is Lydia.

Lori,

Several painful years in my early twenties had served to virtually deconstruct my faith, and I hadn't walked away completely simply because it felt like God wouldn't let go

This is my story as well, although I was a few years younger than you were when I had my painful experiences. My parents were pastors for all but six months of the first 18 years of my life.


I first attempted spiritual formation long before I knew that there was a word for it. I was hungry for something more, something deeper than what was often being offered in the Christian circles I moved among at the time.

I'll end this post with one of my favourite quotes:

"Chase after truth like hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat-tails. "

Clarence Darrow

Jemila Monroe said...

I came to Jesus as a result of directly confronting I AM with this: God, if there is a God, I can't find you, so you have to find me and show me how to follow you."

Within a week, I became friends with the fundamentalist, sincere teenagers in my high school, met my ex-husband, had a dream and shortly therafter, with much angst and feelings of inner conflict, "became a Christian." My compatriots sold me that to love Jesus and God and to be embraced by God's forgiveness through Jesus, you had to buy everything else their church was selling about the bible and its interpretations. Doctrine (their doctrine) was very important, but although I heard constantly about how you had to have a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ," this seemed only to mean reading your bible and having said a proper, sincere "sinner's prayer." Otherwise, I felt totally stranded and not at all sure how to have a relationship with this big God who I found somewhat unbelievable because of the things about this God, the world and other people I was being pretty much forced to believe. My questions were treated with condescension or given pat answers or relegated to, "God's ways are not our ways" in a dismissive sort of way.

In college, I finally met people who were passionate about a spiritual journey of intimacy with God. Sophomore year a few friends and I had a small group and went through celebration of discipline, and I curled up in the study rooms for prayer, journaling and devotional reading, tried fasting (complete fasts made my head feel weird and did not enhance my connection with God,) and became involved with a charismatic church. I simultaneously felt more spiritually alive than before, and still felt inadequate compared to some of my peers who seemed to have a more direct line to God, or had other people getting "words" for them all the time. I still anguished with doubt. I begged God to appear or send a visible angel. I thought about renaming myself "Thomasina." I was blessed by some professors who were very critically thinking scholars and faithful followers of Jesus.

Then I did a very stupid, rebellious and understandable thing: I married the wrong guy under pressure from my pastor to get away from my dysfunctional family. I knew God was telling me not to do it, but I did it anyway. The pain and despair and fear I experienced during that time was truly a hell, because I felt I had made my own bed and had to lie in it. Although I prayed for miracles, I did not expect God to hear me anymore.

Finally, when the Sh*t utterly hit the fan and my first marriage ended, I felt like I had been given a second chance at life. I felt totally alienated from church and conservative Christians, including many dear friends whose lack of experience combined with black and white theology hindered them from responding to me and my situation in a human way. I couldn't pray much, but I worshipped and danced and cried to fernando ortega.

And I fell in love with the liturgist as the little methodist church God had led me to. Since then I have been learning to let God hold me and fill me, rather than trying to wrap my mind entirely around God. I am more okay with mystery, but that doesn't mean I accept things I find unacceptable; it just means I hold the unknown with more ultimate trust. But I still wrestle. Like Jacob, I think my wrestling is helping me limp and lean on God in a way that is strengthening.

I have missed being able to grow deeper spiritually with others -- where I don't have to minimize either my intellectually questioning/doubts, or my passionate hunger for a deeper relationship with my Creator, Redeemer and Friend.

So I am very happy to be part of this group. Thanks for being part of this.

Amy said...

Here's a quote I really like, from "How (Not) to Speak of God".

"A faith that can only exist in the light of victor and certainty is one that really affirms the self while pretending to affirm Christ, for it only follows Jesus in the belief that Jesus has conquered death." pg. 34

Jemila Monroe said...

Oh random facts: Recently I have been wearing purple eyeliner. I have pierced my ears twice and both holes closed up because I am not very disciplined about jewelry. My son (middle child) was born at home. Hopefully my second daughter due at the end of March too! Daughter number one thought my bladder made a great trampoline and stayed breech, so she was a C-section. She still loves jumping around and thinks EVERYTHING is a trampoline!

Here are a couple of quotes that I like from Helen Keller:

"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therin to be content."

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."

~Helen Keller

Nancy said...

Random Fact: I am an audiophile. Period. My most recent discovery is Madeleine Peyroux (I'm a Johnny-come-lately as she has 3 or 4 albums out already). If you have not had the pleasure of hearing her music, treat yourself. Unless you dislike singers like Billie Holliday, whom she is kind of channeling, . I especially like "Doing ALright", which is on "Half a Perfect World".

Nancy said...

http://fireflylife.com/index.php/painting_revelation

Pretty cool example of how to use visual arts to explore scripture.

nir said...

I don't know anything about emergent or spiritual formation or any of your buzzwords, but I do want to learn about spiritual sensuality. My sexuality has been severely damaged by childhood abuse and this has seriously affected my marriage. Fourteen years in a fundamentalist cult, where I was told to "just submit" when I would dissociate or use sex as self-harm didn't help things either. (fortunately we left that group three years ago and never looked back) But I know God wants more for me. I look forward to whatever he wants to teach through you.

Nancy said...

Nir: You are welcome to participate. Maybe the Divine has something for you and the questions that are in your heart and can use the spiritual disciplines we are going to be exploring to help you. Or perhaps, it will simply be through our friendship with you as we take this little journey together that you begin to understand how you have been affected by the abuse and the experiences that followed under the "just submit" admonishments of your faith community.

I hope that you have taken some time to read and/or talk with a professional about sexual abuse. The ramifications can run deep.

Peace and welcome to you.

nir said...

Thanks. I've been in some sort of therapy for the past eight years. Just recently the sexuality issues have come out, so that's what I've been focusing on. And God brought this group to my attention. :)

Jemila Monroe said...

Welcome Nir, so glad you found us and hope you find something here and in this community to bless your healing process. Emerging from fundamentalism where you cannot think for yourself or be yourself can be scary and freeing at the same time. It sounds like you are well on your way by continuing to travel with God even as you ditch some of the dysfunctional aspects of fundamentalist religion. It is a journey!

The book we are using for this spiritual formation group (which basically is "buzzword" for "growing deeper in our relationship with God through sharing the journey together," is "Spiritual Formation" put out by Renovare. There's an amazon link on the sidebar of this site if you're interested in joining us in this thing.

If you would like to post as a member, you are welcome to write about your journey toward spiritual healing in the area of sexuality. If you're interested please email me at jemilakmonroe@yahoo.com and I will add you as an author.

Lori said...

Hello again all, and thanks so much for introducing yourselves so openly. I find it interesting that in most of our cases, it was suffering that has led us to the practice of "spiritual formation". Perhaps indirectly, this is even the case for Nir--we're so glad to have you along, and will pray that this place will be an open one, where you will find healing.

So a question for you all--why do you think suffering leads us to "spiritual formation"? Why would pain lead us into a different approach to faith? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Nancy said...

Interesting question, Lori. In this discussion, I hadn't linked a period of suffering with my turn onto the path of spiritual disciplines/formation but it is actually true. It took a combination of things but suffering played a big part.


I suspect it is much like Thomas Moore has described in "Dark Nights of the Soul" in that suffering can make our hearts vulnerable and our souls open to the Divine. I have jokingly said many times that this will be one of my first questions to God...about WHY God arranged it so that pain and suffering seem to be so necessary to our growth.

I guess I needed to believe there was a purpose to my pain and in my broken-heartedness, longed for closeness with God. I saw my need and let it open me. And then I began to see God's Divine Fingerprints as I struggled through that period of time. In all actuality, I wouldn't trade it, not at all.

Lydia said...

why do you think suffering leads us to "spiritual formation"? Why would pain lead us into a different approach to faith?

Good question.

Humans(including this one) often need some sort of catalyst before they're willing to make a big change in their lives in any area.

Suffering can be that catalyst...as can a lot of other things. I've known several people who became much more responsible and mature after having their first child, or getting into college, or landing their dream job. Growth of any sort generally doesn't happen on it's own.

Amy said...

To me, suffering brings me face-to-face with what I believe about myself and God. And then, I have to figure out how, if at all, what I believe really works. Although this can happen at happier moments of life, I tend to pay the most attention during the difficult times.

Lori said...

Reading your thoughts about suffering was helpful for me, as I thought through this issue as well. (I'm one of those people who seldom has thoughts all by herself--inspiration always comes in company!) Anyhow, I've come to think that often, suffering itself is an integral part of the process of spiritual formation. In my experience, at least, while I suffered in a variety of areas, the most painful thing of all was the chaos of "losing God". Having my understanding of God and my relation to God, and thence my place in the world, entirely deconstructed was excruciating. It's only now, many years down the road, that I see how crucial that was to a new way of seeing and living. The disciplines of spiritual formation would never have taken root without the painful "house cleaning" which came first. (I'm not saying, by the way, that I believe suffering was God's "plan A", or that we have to suffer to be "good enough" to relate to God. I think, instead, that God redeems our suffering by drawing us into a deeper relationship with himself. Because we have suffered, as you have said, we are more vulnerable, more open, more searching--and he graciously takes the opportunity!) The creativity and persistence of God's redemption is one of my all-time favorite things; I shouldn't be surprised to find it here too, at the crossroads of suffering and spiritual formation!

Jemila Monroe said...

Yes, I echo your thoughts and wonderings about the connection between suffering and spiritual formation and maturity. I wonder what God's role is in that reality...

My experience is that we really do tend to depend on the resources we can see with our eyes and our own personal resources until we are completely desperate. We do things on our own until it's not working. Then we turn to God in desperation. And the way we perceive God responding or not responding to our cries and plight form the basis of our real theology, as well as often times whether we become more compassionate or bitter towards life and God and other people.

Carri said...

Hello everyone. I am impressed with the openness already on this forum. I am also brand new to blogging. I am enjoying figuring it all out.

I have been searching for community for the past several months. I moved a little over 2 years ago and have not been able to find those women who are interested in going deeper. Who "get" what I think community should be about. About 6 years ago, in my mid-twenties, I was extremely fortunate to be involved in an amazing small group of young women (I know it is a strong word, but really these women mean the world to me). Each of us was single, wounded, and wanting more from God and out of life. We were able to meet together consistently for about 2 years. We were all apart of a larger young adults ministry at our church. We were experiencing with some of the emerging church ideas there. God used those 2 groups (women’s small group & the larger young adults group) to form me. I look back now and feel so blessed. We knew that our small group was unique, but I never thought that it would be so hard to find again. We are still involved in each others lives, but from a distance.

I am now married, and let me just put it out there, have become Catholic. I know that may have some different connotations to different people. I am very open to discussion and I look forward to sharing some of that story at a later time.

Funny that you have already touched on suffering. That is what led me here. Last summer I experienced a miscarriage. I realized that in the new place I had many "acquaintances". Many people expressed their condolences. But no one (other than those friends over long distance phone calls) cried with me. That was a turning point. I have been seeking people out, having coffee, inviting couples over for dinner for months. We know some nice people. But those "connections" just aren't happening and people aren't returning the invitation. Don't people do that anymore?

So in January, out of desperation, I expanded my search. Looking around on the web I came upon some information about the emerging church, which led me to the Emerging Women blog. In a perfect world I would hope that we could get together on this snowy afternoon for coffee or tea and chat for hours. I am looking forward to this journey with all of you. It has already challenge me to think of community in a different way.

Random Fact of the day: I LOVE snow days. I enjoy playing in the snow. Even as an adult I used to help my brother with his snowplowing business. I would clear sidewalks while he plowed. I have been known to go outside and ask the neighbor's children if they want to come out and play.

Jemila Monroe said...

Welcome, Carri! Yes, I completely understand the feeling of working really hard to build genuine community and feeling letdown by the lack of authentic connection and/or reciprocity. It is especially heartbreaking when it's those times when you NEED to feel held by community and it doesn't happen for whatever reason.

I'm not sure how much of it is the difficulty of finding true kindred spirits or the difficulty of people living in a culture that survives on chronic business and burnout, where most people just don't have the energy to reach beyond their own maintenance or go deeper than reasonably superficial. My dearest friend/sister lives on the other side of the country and while I like plenty of people near me, I have also found the most genuine affinity with the women I have met through EW. One thing I did with my across the country friend is we made cupcakes and jointly celebrated our birthdays. We lit the candles and sang over the phone. Perhaps we could have some kind of virtual coffee shop -- you know agree on a time to get online sometime and bring our favorite beverages and tell everyone what we are sipping :)

Nancy said...

Welcome, Carri! Thanks for participating in our group. I know exactly what you are saying about the difficulty in finding like-minded souls and being able to experience deep and authentic connection with others. I too have experienced what you describe as a lack of reciprocity in hospitality. My husband and I have commented on this more than once. I don't get it but Jemila, I think you hit some of the important factors in your description of our culture as busy and burned out.

Carri, I was struck by what appeared to be some hesitancy to state your membership in the Catholic community. Blogging and emailing and IM'ing can make it difficult to interpret nuance...but I was wondering, if you were hesistant, why?

Carri said...

Nancy, you were right. I was a little hesitant in sharing that. I personally struggled with the decision to become Catholic. I had a lot of preconceived notions about who Catholic people were and what they believed. I fell in love with a man that was Catholic. That wasn't my plan. (Did I mention that I have some control issues?) Boy did I grow so much through that wrestling match with God. One book that a wise mentor gave me was, "Streams of Living Water". I learned that some of the issues that I was debating with my boyfriend (now husband) were issues that generations of people have been debating. That was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn't have to figure out all the answers. After all it wasn't that this man was Buddhist or Islamic...he was Catholic. We believe in the same God. We share many same faith traditions. I made the decision to become Catholic because he loves his church. I wanted us to be a united front. I wanted us to worship together. Not he goes to one church and I go to another. I know that many couples make that work... but that wasn't the desire of my heart.

So let me apologize because it just hit me that I "assumed" that there might be some judgment because of that statement. Thank you for picking up on my hesitancy and pursuing it.

Carri said...

Jemila, I think that you hit on some real truths about our culture. One of the things that I have enjoyed about moving to a new city not having all the commitments. Seeing friends and family happen on the weekends. I have whole weeks when I don't have anywhere to go after work. It is really allowed me to slow down. I know that is just a stage of life and it won't last forever. It has been interesting to see the people with busy lives that want to get together, but when we try to plan a time nothing works for almost 3 weeks. To be honest I don't think that most people are really doing their own maintenance because then the chronic burn out wouldn't be so bad would it? Do you think that everyone knows how to go deeper in friendships? Or is it more of a learned behavior?

Amy said...

First off, I'm drinking a cinnamon dulce latte...mmmm.

Carri, I'm so glad you've joined in. I'm not sure if it will make you feel better or not, but I'm from a pentecostal church. I think we have a pretty interesting and much-debated background as well. I hope you feel as comfortable and welcome as I have.

I echo what has been said already about the development of relationships. I've been part of a team that has been trying to figure out how to impact the culture of our church so that authentic relationships have more opportunity to happen. So much of this hinges on individuals and their concious and unconcious decisions. So much of that is impacted by time (or lack thereof), past experience or training in developing relationships and a myriad of other influences.

I know that I like to protect myself. This year has been difficult for me as I "experiment" with a faith that is more dependent on relationships and love than on a list of do's and don'ts. I want to share, but it's not always well-received. My first impulse is to hide or runaway. I'm learning that if I want really community, though, I can't do that. It's not very effective.

I'm really enjoying our conversation. Thank you.

nir said...

I couldn't post for a while for some reason.

Jemila, I thank you for your offer, but I don't feel strong enough in that area right now to put myself out there like you're suggesting.

Carrie, this was one of the worst things about leaving the group I was formerly with. People I had spent my life with for fourteen years totally cut themselves out of my life when I left the group. It was as if we no longer had anything in common because I didn't go to their group. I know your situation wasn't as severe as that but one of the last straws was when my dear mother in law (who's like a mother to me) was diagnosed with breast cancer and no one was really interested. I can't say it any other way.

I've thought a lot about the catholic church, and I'd like to hear more about what drew you to it.

Nancy said...

I've always been of the mind, even since a child, that Christian is Christian no matter the "flavor". The protestant versus Catholic thing was a source of pain in my family as I had a grandmother who really took issue with marrying outside of her choice of faith. I never could figure it out. And I sense some of that in the evangelical community even in the present, so I understand that you might hesitate, Carri. But I am also confident you won't find that attitude here. My own experience with EW is that the group is very ecumenical. The diversity is really wonderful, refreshing.

As for authentic relationships...someone mentioned "hiding" and I think this really is a valid and powerful explanation for the lack of such connection. We hide from love, even as we long for it. Why? Fear of being hurt, rejected, abandoned, of the mess, of the pain...the list goes on. So, while busyness is an issue, I think if we were not so avoidant of authentic relationships, we'd MAKE the time. It is hard to find people willing to take the risk. I'm so glad there are people here prepared to be take that chance. : )

Nancy said...

I've always been of the mind, even since a child, that Christian is Christian no matter the "flavor". The protestant versus Catholic thing was a source of pain in my family as I had a grandmother who really took issue with marrying outside of her choice of faith. I never could figure it out. And I sense some of that in the evangelical community even in the present, so I understand that you might hesitate, Carri. But I am also confident you won't find that attitude here. My own experience with EW is that the group is very ecumenical. The diversity is really wonderful, refreshing.

As for authentic relationships...someone mentioned "hiding" and I think this really is a valid and powerful explanation for the lack of such connection. We hide from love, even as we long for it. Why? Fear of being hurt, rejected, abandoned, of the mess, of the pain...the list goes on. So, while busyness is an issue, I think if we were not so avoidant of authentic relationships, we'd MAKE the time. It is hard to find people willing to take the risk. I'm so glad there are people here prepared to be take that chance. : )

Jemila Monroe said...

I second Nancy's voice on the spiritual welcoming regardless of denominational background. "Streams of Living Water" is one of my favorite books currently sitting on my shelf waiting for a re-read someday. Maybe a re-skim is more realistic :) I think one of the beautiful things about Emerging Christianity is that is instrinsically (in my experience) more concerned with relationship (to God and one another) than with defining who's in and who's out. What a waste of time, in my opinion! I think the need to focus on judging another Stream's theology or focus is often a fear-based insecurity, a need to circle the wagons defensively, whereas a mature faith is comfortable with bearing witness in an open, non-judgmental way to whatever grace has been experienced and whatever truth has been understood.

Nancy, I also think pain avoidance comes into play with people wanting to keep a safe distance from those they sense would ask them to go deeper than feels safe or comfortable for them. I think a major challenge is that being vulnerable IS vulnerable; other people have issues too and are not perfect and sometimes others will not be able to handle or at least initially react with grace and unconditional positive regard to our unfiltered, truthful selves. I myself have experienced many times putting myself out there and getting hurt, either because I shared too much/was too real too fast or because other people's theology just went "frizz" when my experiences didn't fit within their check boxes.

Thene there is the fact that relationships take work. Even online, it is possible to hurt someone's feelings or have one's feelings hurt because accident, and remedying (or trying to remedy) the situation takes emotional and time energy. A real relationship is alot more work than a friendly acquaintanceship.

And then it seems to me that some people just don't think as much about the deeper side of life or crave a more profound level of connection and are happy being more or less social butterflies or staying on the everyday, non-contemplative level by personality. I think all this stuff can combine with burnout to make it hard to find gold friendships.

In terms of burnout, I think most people ARE trying to maintain, but the pressures are huge from the outside, and sometimes the ways people cope on the inside are just to try to survive and keep the same cycle going that caused the burnout in the first place instead of being able to step off the hamster wheel and evaluate what's really important and think outside the box about how life could be different if different priorities came into play as reality rather than whimsical musings before sleep. I think it's hard to have VISION when you're already burnt out. And our culture works against having a vision that isn't about keeping up with the jonses, including making sure your kids get all the right ingredients to make them into excellent products for society.

Jemila Monroe said...

Nir, perhaps you will at least be inspired to write privately as part of your healing process, and maybe someday share it with someone in a more private setting with someone you trust. I have found writing about traumatic things in my life to be enormously helpful. I wrote a whole memoir as my "therapy" one year; I found that what I could write, I could cry, and what I could cry I could begin to accept and heal. Sometimes I stared at the screen for quite a long time before I could write about some things, but once I could it was a milestone for me.

nir said...

Jemila, it's funny you should say that because I am a writer. Writing is something that's been very therapeutic, I agree.

Jemila Monroe said...

Amy, how are the dulce lattes? I haven't tried them...

I just finished a hot chocolate made out of chocolate almond breeze and organic cocoa powder...mmmm yum.

So does everyone have the book or are some of your still waiting to get yours in the mail?

Jemila Monroe said...

Amy, I hope you enjoyed your dulce latte :)

I just finished a hot chocolate made out of chocolate almond breeze and organic cocoa powder...mmmm yum.

So does everyone have the book or are some of you still waiting to get yours in the mail?

Amy said...

I'm loving the dulce lattes. They are very creamy, which I happen to like.

I have my book and am almost through the first lesson/meeting.

Our church has been encouraging spiritual formation/accountability groups, but haven't recommended resources to get these started. This is a great book to start this type of group. I'm excited for our continued discussions.

Kate said...

Hi Everyone. Is it too late to join the discussion?
I've decided to take the plunge and try to conquer my blog anxiety - I have felt like the shy new girl wanting to join in a lively and passionate conversation, fearful of making a fool of herself!

It's odd because I am not a shy person and typically have a lot to say! Amy can vouch for that!

Maybe because these issues are so close to my heart - suffering, authentic relationships, emerging faith - that I struggle to find the words to share.

Please bear with me as I give this a shot.

Thanks.

Jemila Monroe said...

Kate, you are not too late to join -- we've barely scratched the surface of the book exercises, as you can see. So glad you're coming for the ride! Please email me so you can post as a member and go ahead and order the book so we'll all be on the same page.

Kate said...

My random fact for tonight is that I have 5 tattoos. I'm actually thinking of getting another one and am currently narrowing down the options.

The below quote struck a chord with me because I carry around a lot of fear - which as a Christian is hard to admit sometimes.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?
We were born to express the glory of God that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.’

Amy said...

Katie, I'm so glad you've "taken the plunge"! Welcome! I know that what you add will be meaningful and authentic and as we walk together we'll be challenged to grow.

Hey...didn't know you had two tattoos!?

Just so you all know, I'll add in the random fact that Kate is my sister-in-law (married to my brother). I'm so excited she's joined in!

Lydia said...

Welcome, Kate, Nir, and Carri.

(Did I miss anyone? :) )

Lori said...

It's great to hear a beginning of your stories. I'm always amazed at the variety of paths God makes use of in bringing us closer to Him, and to each other. I hope you all can join us as we work through "A Spiritual Formation Workbook"--it's full of more "paths" that we can explore and share. Jemila has started us out with Exercise 1--"In what role do you best experience Jesus?" It's a great question that's had me pondering for a week; I look forward to hearing your thoughts, too!