I finished reading The Spirit of the Discplines by Dallas Willard. It was recommended to me about 12 years ago and has been sitting on my bookshelf since — feel kind of foolish for not reading it before. It is very much in the vein of The Divine Conspiracy, which is no surprise since they are books one and three in a trilogy. I think it was actually easier reading than the Divine Conspiracy. There was a lot of underlining and many dog-eared pages when I was done. Here’s a few of the questions/thoughts I have in my book journal:
pg 99 — We often gauge our religious services by how much people ‘feel good’ about them. We also feel like a service was good if it ‘went well.’ Neither of these ever would have crossed Paul’s mind. What does it look like when a religious service is successful? In what ways can we measure that people have encountered God?
pg 139 — “The need for extensive practice of a given discipline is an indication of our weakness, not our strength.” — Brilliant! The disciplines are often talked about as if they are the pinnacle of Christian life. Truth is, they are useless if they don’t translate into action in our life. I will never get to the place where I have no need for disciplines, but the way he states this is a good way for me to keep perspective on why I need to do them.
pg 246 — “Ministers pay far too much attention to people who do not come to services. Those people should, generally, be given exactly that disregard by the pastor that they give to Christ. The Christian leader has something much more important to do that pursue the godless. The leader’s task is to equip saints until they are like Christ, and history and the God of history waits for him to do this job.” — I’ll just leave that one to speak for itself and we can all ponder to what degree we agree or disagree…