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Orlando Quaker Spiritual Formation Groups

on Thu, 01/30/2020 - 15:52

Orlando Quaker Spiritual Formation Groups

What is Spiritual Formation?

The use of daily spiritual practices to lead us into a deeper spiritual life. As in any relationship, to deepen the relationship you need to spend time together. Thus, to deepen our spirituality we need to spend time with the Spirit.

Readings Source:

Celebration of Discipline by Quaker author Richard J. Foster. “Christianity Today” says this is one of the top 10 books of the 20th century. (optional “the Gathered Meeting” by Thomas Kelly) This book will also help us to learn to translate such phrases as “turn their lives over to Jesus Christ.” (p2) into a language that makes you more comfortable.

Logistics:

  1. One Meeting/Month

  2. Daily Spiritual Discipline (any of your choosing)—many Spiritual Formation Groups agree to hold the others in their group in the Light as part of their daily spiritual practice.

  3. Groups will be organized by availability (see “To sign up” below)

  4. Groups to consist of about 4-6 people.

  5. Meeting times to be decided by the groups

  6. Locations determined by individual groups but we suggested that these be in the meetinghouse or other quiet private place.

  7. Seven Month Duration (with optional continuing (you might want to open group to new participants.))

    1. Meeting 1— read Introduction to the Book and attached excerpt

    2. Meetings 2-7—Two chapters/month

    3. 6th Monthly meeting may be slightly longer as you begin discussion of how to continue Spiritual Formation

    4. Final Monthly meeting should include some form of closing.

  8. Jerry and Steven will set up groups after sign-up

    1. A facilitator will be picked (see below for facilitator expectations)

    2. N.B. (nota bene—note well): NOT a therapy group/not a 12-step program

Routine of the meetings

Four Questions:

  1. In a couple sentences, what is going on in your life?” (Worship Sharing)

  2. What is and how are you doing with your spiritual practice? Why do you think that is?” (Worship Sharing)

  3. What speaks to you most deeply in the readings?” (Worship Sharing)

  4. During worship sharing, I realized I want help with __________.” (not in worship sharing format)

Expectations of the Facilitator

  • Call for silence to begin worship

  • Pose queries one at a time

  • During queries reminding people of worship sharing guidelines as required

  • Keeping an eye on the clock

Worship Sharing Guidelines

  1. Focus on the Spirit of worship

  2. Silence between messages

  3. I” messages only

  4. No response to another’s sharing—praise, comment, criticism, or debate

  5. Feel free to pass when your turn. You can respond at end of that question.

  6. Confidentiality is expected

  7. Listen to messages with heart not head. Hearing that of God in the speaker.

  8. No one to speak a second time until each person has had a chance to speak or pass.

  9. Don’t allow yourself to take up too much time so all get an opportunity to speak (facilitator will help with this)

To sign up for a group, sign up sheet is in the meetinghouse. Or you can email sriddle415@yahoo.com with your name, phone number, email address and all the times you are available. i.e Tuesday before or after worship, Sunday before or after worship, MTWTH or F night, Sat. AM or other weekday.

Excerpt from “Individual Spiritual Discernment” By Jerry Knutson

What is the best spiritual practice for you? It is the one you do daily that helps you grow spiritually. Over the years I’ve practiced many disciplines. Some help me for a while and then lose their meaning, others have almost always been helpful for my spiritual development.

Try practicing a few daily disciplines and see how they enhance your spiritual growth. I have found a synergistic effect by engaging in several different spiritual practices.

Meditation: I have made daily meditation a priority. In the morning, I don’t drink coffee until after I meditate. Since I really want a cup of coffee, this forces me to meditate. When I waited to meditate until after I had a cup of coffee, I found that I’d start to perform the activities of daily living and I would rarely get back to meditating. In meditation, I’ve found a deep love that focuses and refreshes me. Daily meditation allows me to be more relaxed and efficient throughout the day. On days when I say “I don’t have time to meditate” I know I really need to meditate because it will probably be a hectic day and I’ll need the relaxation, efficiency, and centeredness.

Prayer: I often pray into my laptop. When I type the words of my prayer as I’m praying them, my thoughts become physical. I’ve found this keeps my mind from wandering, gives

me a record of what I’ve said, and therefore I pray better and more often!

I try to make every breath a prayer. The root of the words inspiration and expiration is “Spirit.” “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–17).

Examen: This is a practice instituted by Saint Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits. At the end of each day examine what happened and see how Agape was working. Ask when you were most grateful and when you were least grateful.

I like these questions because they put the Spirit in every aspect of life—both the best part of the day and the worst, the consolations and the desolations. Try this examen and see if you don’t find Agape was gracious today—and soon you will trust Agape will be gracious tomorrow.

I’ve also found that a desolation today might turn into a consolation in a few days.

Forgiveness: By using my head, heart, and soul, I let go of wrongs done to me and forgive the perpetrator.

I resented a man because of the names he had called me in a public setting. Many months after the incident, I had a dream where I introduced this man to a friend. When I awoke from the dream, I was happy that in the introduction I was polite and showed no resentment. However, I also realized I needed to spend some time in prayer and meditation to forgive this man. I focus on remembering that resentment keeps the wrong person up at night and that forgiveness is a gift I give myself.

For me, forgiveness starts with forgiving myself for all my errors. After realizing all the mistakes I have made it is much easier to forgive others for their errors.

Discerning the “To Do” List: In this discipline, I write my “to do” list and prioritize it. Then I center and ask Agape for any input. I’ve learned to add a reward item into my to do list.

Observing Myself: Several times a day, I try to imagine that my consciousness moves a few feet out of my body and I watch myself from this perspective.

Other Spiritual Disciplines: Other spiritual disciplines include daily devotional reading, tithing, serving others, observing God in nature, having a Spiritual Friendship,i reading the Bible or other spiritual literature, offering prayers of gratitude, and just being—not doing.ii

i See Trish Roberts, More than Equals: Spiritual Friendships (Wallingford, Pa.: Pendle Hill Pamphlet #345, 1999).

ii For a detailed description of some spiritual disciplines see Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline:

The Path to Spiritual Growth (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998).