CATEGORY: Contemporary Culture

Re-Post: We’re a Praying Congregation

Over the generations, prayer has shaped their common life together. To become part of this congregation means that you are committing to praying for the community and, perhaps even more difficult for some, you are willing to be prayed for.

A Sankofa September to Re-Member

As the church, we often become disconnected from the God-given gifts and graces – hopes and healing – trials and truths in our past. But there are many testimonies of faithful Christians. In the West African Akan culture of Ghana, Liberia, and Benin, there is a collection of Adinkra symbols that are connected to brilliant words of deep wisdom and spirituality.

Stillness, Silence & Simplicity

The good news is that one does not need to perch themselves hundreds of feet above the ground to discover stillness, simplicity, and silence. In fact, although I may have first uncovered fleeting moments of clarity in the mountains, it is through contemplative practice that I am able to let those moments continue to transform and work through me towards a unity with the divine.

New Life

Yes, Christianity and Hinduism follow separate teachings and figures, but the thought kept creeping upon my psyche… How was this any different from what I had left behind?

Bringing Contemplative Practices to the Congregation

One pathway for integrating aspects of the contemplative movement into a congregation is to lead weekly contemplative prayer groups using the ancient Christian prayer form of lectio divina. During lectio, we hear the word of God through scripture, silently meditate, reflect, and share how we experienced God during the prayer.

Silence and the Oppressed

That brings me to the pervasive idea among white contemplatives who dominate the ideas of modern-day contemplation that for the most part, African Americans and other people of color don’t practice contemplative prayer, which they view as predominantly silence. Silence certainly has its place, but as the writer of Ecclesiastes notes in chapter 3:1, everything has its time.

The Possibility of a Contemplative Reformation

As I scan bookshelves, I see methods and frameworks that offer programs for myriad issues and stresses. There is an understandable desire for some answer, some relief to the pressure we feel in traditional congregations. But something in my soul resists relying too heavily on a program-maintenance model in congregational ministry.