Saturday, November 21, 2009

death by suburb challenge group

Sphere Challenge Group ’09-‘10
Death by Suburb and the Media Monster: How to Keep Some Quiet in Our Loud Lives

1. Intro = “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9NLT). Our Lord never promises that anything will be easy. He promises only His presence and power, and that is always enough.” – Campbell, How to Really Parent Your Child
2. The Media Monster
3. The Empty Self
a. Inordinately Individualistic
b. Infantile
c. Narcissistic
d. Passive
e. Sensate(mediated by electronic images)
f. Has Lost the Art of Developing an Interior Life
g. Hurried and Busy
4. Casting out the Empty Self
a. Admit the Problem
b. Choose to be Different
c. Change Your Routine
d. Develop Patience and Endurance
e. Develop a Good Vocabulary
f. Set Some Study Goals
5. 5 Groups of Wise Virtues
a. Truth-seeking, Honesty, Wisdom
b. Faith and Hope
c. Humility, Open-mindedness, Self-criticality, Nondefensiveness
d. Ardor, Vigilance, Fortitude
e. Fidelity to God and dedication to His cause as one’s chief end
6. Death By Suburb
1. The Problem: Worldliness

a. Environmental Effect:
“The space around us – the physical organization of neighborhoods, roads, yards, houses, and apartments – sets up living patterns that condition our behavior.” –Kenneth Jackson “Crabgrass Frontier”
b. Envy/ Coveting (p.8-9)
c. Self-Love
d. Busy and Chaotic Life (p.168-169 – read)(p.197-198 – read)
e. “Immortality Symbols”
“An immortality symbol is not really about the thing. It’s not about baseball. It’s not really about my child. It’s about the glory that the thing bestows on me.” P.42
-what we call idolatry, identity
f. “Shirkers”
“Shirkers are religious folk who inadvertently disengage from the suffering of the world and who unwittingly collect to themselves every available religious experience.” P.100
“The flow of Shirker Religion is all one direction: toward me” p.112
g. Utilitarian “Transactional” Friendships
“Intimacy is the one thing in…church that everyone craves but few seem to have. You can’t use relationships as a means to position yourself in life and then also expect to experience in them the kind of friendship that sweetens life and takes the edge off its hard parts.” P.154
h. Utilitarian “Transactional” Relationship with God
-Quid Pro Quo

Discussion: How does our environment effect us negatively?

2. Some Spiritual Solutions: 8 spiritual practices to counteract our environmental toxins
a. #1 Inside Space

- Contemplating the Supernatural
- Prayer, Sabbath, and Solitude p.26,28,33
- Listening to God
“becoming still…And to stop the scheming inside my head.” P.32
- Gradual vs. Instant
“It’s not easy to sit and trust that in solitude God will speak to you – not as a magical voice but that He will let you know something gradually over the years (Nouwen)” p.32
b. #2 The Journey Through Self
- “This purification process…is not a journey into my own inwardness, it is a journey through myself, to emerge from the deepest level into the place He is, the point at which God and I meet.(Bloom)” p.44
- Jn. 3:30
- Recognizing and Combating Self-Love
“Self…the inner voice that suggests you live for yourself. The voice of self-love is even more powerful than the voice of the serpent. (Fenelon) p.49-50
“The biggest problem in any church I attend is my love of self.” P.140
“Is this continual resistance [to God] due to the fact that He has not given you what you want in a way that will flatter your ego? (Fenelon)” p.179-180
- Needing God
“the presence of Jesus would be found not in met needs but in unmet expectations and perceived need…the end of myself.” P.192
c. #3 Loving the Unlovely
- Counteracting Coveting
- Change the direction of our gaze
“Instead of riveting my gaze on the possessions of others economically above me, I do an about-face. I turn to face the person whom I perceive to have less than I…opening ourselves up to people in and with whom God seems to be most active.” P.72
“There must be something about beholding the Holy within that pushes you back to the street.” P.46
- “Mortality Symbols” p.48-50,p.190, 198-199
d. #4 Remembering Laughter / Having grace in difficult times
- “Remembering Laughter” story
- Making peace with our allotment of suffering (p.83)
- The difference between bitter old woman and happy old woman (p.90)
- Suffering = the enemy of self-love
“It’s good to learn early enough that suffering and God are not a contradiction but rather a unity, for the idea that God Himself is suffering is one that has always been one of the most convincing teachings of Christianity. I think God is nearer to suffering than happiness, and to find God in this way gives peace and rest and a strong and courageous heart (Bonhoeffer)” p.94-95
e. #5 Pursuing action/ Obedience
- Shirking vs. Obedience
f. #6 Staying put in Your Community“Only in relationships that permit no bailing out can certain forms of spiritual development occur. Marriage is one. Church is another.” P.140
“Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we’re fortunate with ourselves…only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all it’s unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it.” -Bonhoeffer
g. #7 Finding and Keeping Good Friends“there is always a little humility on the part of each toward the others; with all my friends, I feel lucky to be counted as one.(C.S.Lewis)” “[Friendship] heightens the joys of prosperity and mitigates the sorrows of adversity by dividing and sharing them.(Aelred)” p.162
“In friendship I can say I have felt the grace of God.” P.166
(Lk. 24:13-34)
h. #8 Pursuing Time“There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord…spiritual life begins to decay when we fail to sense the grandeur of what is eternal in time (Heschel)” p.176
“Christian contemplation begins at the point where the meaning of the swiftly flowing surface of earthly events is broken to reveal their relation to heaven (Hans Urs von Balthasar)” p.190
3. His conclusion: Mending“Entropy is nowhere more at work than in one’s spiritual energy and good intentions…Mending must be an ongoing continual activity. Entrance into the deeper spiritual life is by way of obedience in the small things…mending one’s life, making small adjustments on a regular basis to avoid the speed and clutter of modern living.” P.184

No comments:

Post a Comment