Sunday, June 10, 2012

Celebration of Discipline

For my spiritual formations class, I am currently reading "Celebration of Discipline-The Path to Spiritual Growth" by Richard J. Foster. This book is a study on perfecting certain disciplines within ourselves and incorporating those disciplines into our daily practices. Those of you who know me well know that I have a wandering mind and thus am profiting GREATLY from this study. The disciplines are divided into the inward (Meditation, Prayer, Fasting, Study), the outward (simplicity, solitude, submission, and service) and corporate (confession, worship, guidance, and celebration). Already in the short time I have been studying this book I have felt closer to Christ as I perfect my lifestyle through implementation of the disciplines. I am reminded of my mission experience where everyday had incorporated within its hours elements of the disciples. It seemed so effortless as a missionary! I have holy envy for the monks, nuns and hermits of former years who could seclude themselves and devote their full energy to such Godly devotion.However,  I suppose the true practice is meant to be instilled in normal, day to day living.

The Hebrew section of my Biblical languages class is over (until we begin our word studies) and I am now moving onto Greek. I look forward to committing the characters to memory and beginning the mental gymnastics of working with the grammar!

Lastly, I submitted a research proposal for my research methods class entitled "Born of Water and the Spirit: Examining the Historicity of Augustine’s Doctrinal Stance on Infant Baptism". I enjoy looking at the historical circumstances surrounding doctrinal declerations and find the research to be helpful in understanding why early Christian fathers thought and wrote the way they did. One of my Religion professors at BYU (Alonzo Gaskill) taught me to think this way rather than simply blacklisting the early fathers on account of doctrine we may not agree with. Often, these men were doing the best they could with the knowlege they had. I now tend to look at the dark ages (aka the apostasy) somewhat differently now than I used to. INTERESTINGLY-a fellow classmate of mine commented on my proposal and abstract, commenting on how he looked forward to my completed paper and then asked if I have ever really considered how truly different the biblical record of the primitive church is as opposed to what developed within the next few centuries and taking it one step further, all the discord we have now among Christian denominations. Being LDS, I was very interested in his question and once again was reminded of the fact that the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints answer SO MANY QUESTIONS that students of religion have been asking for decades and are asking now. Sadly, the controversies over church history and the overall suspicion felt by the general Christian body towards Mormons clouds the simple truths that are so clearly laid out for all to see, being taught by our missionaries all over the world. We still have much work to do before Christians can worship as a united body, in doctrine and ordinance.