Wake Up, Discern, Imagine, Do

I am currently reading Christianity After Religion:  The End Of Church And The Birth Of A New Spiritual Awakening by Diana Butler Bass.

Why did Diana write this book?

“This book is concerned with religion and change—specifically how Christianity, especially Christianity in the United States, is changing and how people are questioning conventional patterns of faith and belief.”

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I want to share this below paragraph from her book and discuss its four main points.

“To awaken spiritually means that we develop a new awareness of God’s energy in the world in order to discern what is needed to open the possibilities for human flourishing. Discernment leads to new understandings of self, neighbor, and God—a vision of what can and should be. Thus, awakening demands we act upon the new vision. Wake up, discern, imagine, and do. What will make a difference to the future is awakening to a faith that fully communicates God’s love—a love that transforms how we believe, what we do, and who we are in the world.”

Four actions jump out at me: wake up, discern, imagine, do.

Let’s discuss them one at a time.

Wake Up

Centering Prayer helps me discover God’s energy both in the world and in my inner world. Centering Prayer slows me down. When I slow down I am better able to open to both the presence and action of God within. I have discovered that I can also take this slowness into my non silent times of the day and open to the presence and action of God that is all around me.

Discern

Centering prayer helps me better discern the actions that I need to take. What tasks do I need to complete at work? How can I resolve an issue at work? What should I do after work? Who can I help today? When someone annoys me or hurts my feelings what next steps should I take or not take? When is silence the best course? When is no action the best action? I have noticed that when I slow down I am better able to discern the inner actions and nudges of the Divine.

Imagine

When I slow down I am better able to imagine new possibilities. That once impossible task at work now seems to have a solution. I discover a better way to help my child with a situation that preciously caused him to struggle. I find a new book to read or a new show to watch that opens new vistas for me. I seem more open to trying, exploring and doing new things. At the end of the day, I like to look back and review with God the new and exciting highlights from the day.

Do

Centering prayer reveals what actions God wants me to do today. I am better able to discern my daily and future tasks and actions. I am better able to partner with God and discern the small steps that will complete my future goals and tasks. I am better able to discern when to take no action and when to just shut up when I discern it is my emotions and not God’s inner nudge.

Next Steps

As I continue to wake up, discern, imagine and do, I will as Diana states communicate God’s love to both me and others that I come into contact with each day. And more importantly, God’s love will transform how we believe, what we do, and who we are in the world.

Go Further

Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening by Diana Butler Bass

Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution by Diana Butler Bass

Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks  by Diana Butler Bass

The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian  by Brian McLaren

We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation  by Brian McLaren

A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith  by Brian McLaren




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Contemplative Discernment by Fr. Carl Arico, Pamela Begeman, Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler: A contemplative practice of discernment is not about decision-making, although this may be an eventual outcome. Rather, contemplative discernment is receptive in nature, a process of opening to receive clues about who we are in God. We focus on ever-deepening levels of relationship and trust in God’s will for us. We learn how to listen deeply to our motivations and sort through and purify any mixed motivations. As this relationship deepens, we learn to allow the love of God to motivate our actions and manifest through us. We discover what it means to truly pray “not my will, but Thy will.”

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