Please follow the instructions outlined in these instructions. If you are unable to complete this assignment as requested- please don’t take this assignment. No Plagiarism, cite all sources listed on bibliography page of internet materials, books, articles, etc., Check spellings, grammar, punctuation, etc.-Thanks in advance for following instructions. Also will download some materials that must be used in order to complete this assignment. Also there is a sample of a Rule of life Paper to guide you only.
The paper that you write is intended to help you reflect on your own experience and practice. This reflection should include personal observation and reaction but it must also include theological reflection. This is not a simple task so I hope the following instructions prove helpful to you.
Paper should be 6-8 pages, double-spaced, 12 point font. Please keep within the page limits for text: PAGES 9 AND FORWARD WILL NOT BE READ. Also, PLEASE submit your paper as a Word doc.
Your paper should include the following elements:
• Your understanding of the “rule of life.” That is, what is a rule and what is it supposed to do? (Must use parts of the reading by Marjorie Thompson Soul Feast An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life) in writing your paper.
• Your rule: i.e., the one you have been living throughout the semester Must use and include BK-Developing My Rule of Life throughout the writing of the paper
• Your rationale for the practices that make up your rule: that is, why did you choose the practices that you chose and what did you hope they would accomplish in you? Speak to this in both personal and theological terms (theologically, this will include sharing your understanding of spiritual formation—its goals and its processes—your understanding of God, your view of the human person, and the role of spiritual disciplines or practices in the Christian life).
• If any changes occurred throughout the semester note them and the reasons for the change. Was your rule too ambitious at the beginning and needed to be scaled back? Did you find yourself resisting elements of your rule and decided to alter it in some way? Did you discover that some practice that you had chosen did not really work for you and you decided on a change? Did your understanding or conviction about a practice change for some reason and you decided to follow that conviction? Whatever led you to alter your rule, reflect on it.
• Describe your experience of living the rule. Was it difficult and why? Did you find it life-giving and how so? Did you encounter resistance within yourself? What was that about, in your estimation? In what ways did you encounter God through the living of the rule?
• Do you see a role for this practice in your life going forward? Why or why not? What role does disciplined spiritual practice have in sustaining the practice of ministry?
Evaluation will be based on the following:
• Effort: did you make a sincere effort to live into the pattern of spiritual disciplines you laid out at the beginning of the semester?
• Quality of reflection: do you demonstrate a capacity to reflect critically and theologically on your experience? Do you articulate a cogent theological rationale for the elements, intentions, and experience of your rule?
• Quality of writing: is your paper clear, concise, well organized, free of grammatical and spelling errors and typos, etc.?
PROFESSOR SAMPLE PAPER – (Only to use to guide you in writing your paper)
There is nothing in the world that I want more than to grow in my relationship with God. I dream of drawing and being drawn into deeper intimacies with both Friend and Spouse, reaching into the transformative spaces that continually mold me into the person God hopes me to be. But this doesn’t just happen because I wish it into existence. On the contrary, God asks us to be present and actively engaged in this beautiful, and sometimes painful process. Marjorie Thompson writes, “It is a process that requires the death of much that seems natural to us, in order to allow a deeper mystery of our life in God to rise up.” A rule of life offers the structure we need “in order to have enough space, air, and light to flourish. Structure gives us the freedom to grow as we are meant to.” What follows is my own intentional structure or rule of life that I believe God has spoken into my mind, body, and spirit.
Rule of Life
a. Fifteen minutes of simply “being” with God every day. Words aren’t necessary, but not out of the question, just drinking deeply of God’s presence, while God enjoys mine.
b. Fifteen minutes of intentional, undisturbed prayer each day, both active listening and talking with God.
c. One hour per week focused on self-examination, confession, and awareness.
d. Take care of my body, mind, and spirit.
i. Eat well. And some form of exercise thirty minutes, four times per week.
ii. Three hours of spiritual reading per week, which must include scripture.
iii. One afternoon or morning per month of painting or riding horses or something else that is calling me to life.
iv. See a spiritual director once a month. Seek counseling in seasons of need.
v. Two weekend retreats per year.
a. Attend to important relationships.
i. At leased one out of the house date with my spouse and a few minutes of prayer with my spouse per week.
ii. A date with a friend every other week.
iii. Weekly phone calls to my mom, dad, and sister.
b. Invest in a worship community (if not already pastoring one).
c. Engage and make friends with people who are different than me.
a. Volunteer twice a month doing something for social justice/advocacy in the world, outside and not related to my church or job.
b. Week long mission trip once a year.
Although every piece of my rule of life is incredibly important, each contributing to a balanced, healthy spiritual life, I believe the time of simply being with God and intentional prayer to be the most important. I find that if I take time to be engaged and attentive with God, I am more engaged and attentive to my other relationships and also to the work of justice in the world. For me, everything pours out of my relationship with God, including the ministry God has called me to. Preaching, teaching, and being in mission are all born out of this time of mutual devotion. I am an all around better pastor, spouse, friend, and human because of it.
Time of simply being with God and intentional prayer are a deeply embedded part of my rule of life because I am passionately in love with God. And like anyone in love, I want to spend time with the Source of this love. I have been beckoned and wooed into the arms of God. My response is to dwell there, both to share life with God for the sake of sharing life, and also to be inspired to bring that life to others. Thus, time of simply being with God and intentional prayer is about the God-Jayme relationship, and also about the God-Jayme-and the rest of the world relationship, as I am one individual among the billions of God’s creatures, one community abiding perfectly in the center of God’s being.
I have made a careful distinction between fifteen minutes of simply “being” with God every day, and fifteen minutes of intentional prayer, because I think it is really easy to always go to God with an agenda, even an agenda that God is happy to be a part of. For example, it wouldn’t be very good for the relationship between my spouse and me if every time we went out on a date all I talked about was how we needed more money for our bills, or the ten different projects that needed to be done around the house, or the pain in my shoulder. Marjorie Thompson writes, “Some of our prayers resemble ‘a spiritual shopping list, launched heavenward on the wings of pious words.’ But God is not, as one author wryly notes, our ‘cosmic bellhop.’” Now, I am not suggesting that God doesn’t want to hear about these things, that God doesn’t want us to ask for the things we need, for healing, or for help on the projects we are working on. On the contrary, God is eager to be a part of every aspect of our lives. But sometimes we need to just “be.” Like my spouse and I need to simply enjoy one another’s presence by cuddling on the couch, I need to do the same with God…to cuddle on the couch and drink deeply of God’s presence, while God enjoys mine with no agenda or to-do list.
The intentional time of prayer is not rigid, nor do I want to engage in only one form of prayer. Marjorie Thompson writes, “[P]rayer is, by nature, more than a conversation. To limit its concept to dialogue is to allow some of the most profound expressions of prayer to escape our notice.” Since communication with God is a two-way street, both speaking and listening are important, although listening has often received the short end of the stick in the Protestant church. Here, I may sit quietly, breath deeply and listen for the Spirit of God, or I may do a contemplative prayer, a Lectio Devina exercise, or write a psalm in my journal. Speaking with unreserved honesty, I may simply say what is on my heart and listen for God’s response. Although everyday will be different, I hope that each week my prayers will have been caught up in the personal, communal, and global worlds.
The reasons behind attending to important relationships are obvious ones. Important relationships, especially my relationship(s) with my spouse, family, and close friends give me life and bring me joy. And implicitly, they fuel my ministry because they keep me healthy and grounded. My spouse, family, and close friends keep me accountable, otherwise my work life would spin wildly out of control. They remind me that God wants me before God wants my business! Healthy pastors are a lot more likely to make for healthy churches. This is where taking care of my mind, body, and spirit also comes into play. Again, healthy pastors, physically, emotionally, and spiritually are a lot more likely to make for a healthy church.
Investing in a worship community made it into my rule of life, because it’s what I struggle with the most. I am in this transition where I am rethinking what it means to be church as I wrestle with its anti-everything injustices. In doing so, I find myself pulling dangerously far away. I know that God is not calling me to leave, but to be a part of growth, change, and reconciliation. Therefore, even in the midst of my hurt and anger, investing in a worship community is necessary, not only for my own worship experience (because I need that in and of itself), but also so that I can be a part of the growth toward a more inclusive and more loving body.
Over the past three years, I have been blessed to be engaged with people who think, believe, and live differently than I do. I don’t have words for how much I have learned from the people at Brite and also the people of China and Kenya on two separate mission trips. I am a better, more whole, more aware, more inclusive, more missionally minded, and generally a more loving person because of the impact they have had on my life. And I am forever grateful. It is because of this, that I seek to live in this same manner, to engage and make friends with people who are different from me, and allow myself to be changed by their voices. Whether it is the homeless man sitting in the entrance of the grocery store, the young woman living on the streets in Port-au-Prince, the “crazy” liberal marching for equal human rights, or the “creepy” conservative who knocks on doors to save souls, I want know, understand, love, and learn from them, as difficult and uncomfortable as that is sometimes. But a friend once told me, “If you not uncomfortable while being church, you’re not doing it right!”
My friend’s statement leads perfectly into the area of mission for my rule of life. For a long time I have dreamed of volunteering at a therapeutic horse ranch, but I haven’t made it a priority in my life. It is time I do, among other missional passions, such as advocating for the homeless, and bringing clean water to the places in the world that don’t have access. I think it is really important for Christians to engage in some sort of mission or social justice “glocally” and outside of their church. Here, we become the hands and feet of Christ in the world, and not the hands and feet of Christ in our church and with the small enclave of people who think, believe, and live as we do. Bradley P. Holt writes, “[Jesus] is the only founder of a major religion who took this time to heal people’s bodies as well as their minds and spirits. A [rule of life] that looks to the example of Jesus will integrate prayer with action, will seek intimacy with God while taking a healing approach to people, and will confront the powers of evil while comforting the oppressed.”
Along with engaging some form of mission bi-monthly in my community and world, I also think it is important for me to pick up and leave my everyday context, with all the pressures and distractions that reside there, and participate in a week long mission trip once a year. Although every year I won’t be able to afford an international mission trip, it’s absolutely necessary for me to be in mission with people outside of my country on a regular basis, even if that means I can only go every other or every three years. The other years, I will do something within the United States. Global mission is one of those things that sets my heart on fire and brings me alive. And as I stated before, I learn so much from people who live outside of my little white-suburban, privileged world. My faith is richened and my world-view broadened, which makes me a healthier person, a better a pastor, and more effective at working for justice in the world.
Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” Engaging in mission has everything to do with sustaining ministry, both my ministry and the ministry of the Church at large. God’s love is shared with every piece of bread that is brought to the homeless shelter, with every well that is dug in a dry and barren land, and with the words that are spoken in advocacy with the oppressed. Engaging in mission means more love for more people, a love that radiates from the heart of God, and the mutual exchange between beloved and beloved. Loving God means loving neighbor and loving neighbor means loving God. It is this love that builds the type of ministry that lays the brick and mortar of God’s just and perfect reign. Therefore, engaging in mission not only sustains my ministry, as it perpetuates and inspires love making (No pun intended. Ha!), but it also participates in the much larger work of inaugurating God’s just and perfect reign.
As a ________, my faith tradition has largely informed my practice of the spiritual life, especially in terms of how one should encounter other human creatures. My two international mission trips to China and Kenya have been instrumental in setting the foundation for my theology of mission, and even how I view and understand the people around me. Clark M Williamson explains it well:
As the community of faith seeks to walk the way of life in an increasingly crowded world, it encounters other people, strangers to it and its way of life. Who are these people? How are we to understand them? What should be our characteristic attitudes and actions towards them? The thesis of this post-Shoah theology is simple: All these strangers are out neighbors on planet Earth, neighbors whom God has given us to love, whose well-being is given to us to guard and protect, those toward whom we are to see that justice is done. Strangers are different from us, alien, foreign. In the parlance of postmodern thought, they represent “otherness.” They think and act differently; they bring their questions with them. To love strangers is to love questions, and to love questions is to love strangers. Yet we are commanded: ‘You shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LOORD your God’ (Lev. 19:34). We are freed by God to love these strangers, knowing that as we have been freely loved we are freed to love.
Simply, our neighbors are a gift to us to love. They sustain our lives, just as much as we sustain theirs. The very act of mission or social justice is sustaining to one’s heart, one’s life, and one’s ministry. We cannot live apart from our neighbors, for in doing so we live apart from God will.
BK-DEVELOPING MY RULE OF LIFE-(Must Use in the Paper) This is my rule of life.
My rule of life is my understanding to assist in regulating my life, where I implement and clearly identify the way I have chosen to live life and inviting God into the process. In prayer, I have committed to the following and being as realistic as possible without setting myself up for failure.
I. Developing a rule of Prayer
A. I would like to continue to work on being more discipline of my time with God, prior to starting my day. However can become too busy and slack off or in a rush. I would like to journal again and implement the following three spiritual practices I love doing.
6:00 am. – 6:10 am. Meditation- Reading of scripture, and to reflect on what I have read.
6:10 am.-6:20 Praise- I love giving thanks and praise prior to praying, whether with song or just a shout of praise throughout the house.
6:20 am-6:30 am. –Prayer-I love praying for others and consider myself a prayer warrior. I love petitioning people prayers before the Lord, prior to asking for anything I need.
In developing a more intimate prayer life with my heavenly Father has been beneficial in strengthening my faith. It has shown me discipline, commitment and true worship. It also reminded that a minister should always be consistent with three things in our everyday life; which is to be in Christ, in the scriptures and prayer. This rule of prayer has help renew in me, my obligations to God and as a minister.
II. Reflection As A Minister
B. If I had to look at what feeds me or attract me about prayer; is that I love serving God and praying for God’s people. Pray forces me to grow in my calling as a minister in Pastoral Care. I actively act in this calling through my church; however feel that something is missing, when sharing with families. I find myself using same scriptures, and want to expand this to continue in encouraging sick, grief stricken families and others who just request prayer. I hope to enhance this by:
5:00 am- 6:00 am- Attending our church praying hour hotline which is Monday-Friday, at least once a week, and surrender prayer.
6:00 pm.-7:00 pm- Attend our hour of power prayer time on Wednesday night prior to our Bible Study “Words and Wonders “and surrender prayer to those who request prayer during this full hour.
7:00 pm.-8:30 pm- Attend Bible Study every Wednesday night from my usual twice a month in which I attend due to school studies.
In my reflection rule of life as minister, my attitude towards ministry and God help me to personally examine myself. For I believe that I must have the attitude of Jesus, for Jesus Christ Himself set the example in Matthew 20:28, which states “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” So therefore in order attend Bible study, and prayer time or any other ministerial commitments; it’s about having the attitude of a bondservant. It’s my attitude which will affect the quality of service I give to ministry in order to have successful participation in ministry.
III. Finding Balance
I always find that there is never enough time in a day for everything. I hope to find balance in implementing God, family, church, school studies and work that will give me wholeness, without feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I plan to implement once more by using a scheduling calendar that will implement the following and track this progress by journaling for result in developing my rule of life.
I believe finding balance is always a hard task for a minister, however can be done with boundaries implemented. This comes with discipline and self-control in which a minister must use time in a way that best serves God, family and the church. This rule of life has helped some in showing me the task of keeping with schedule appointments without adding more in my hectic schedule by allowing me to say “No” without feeling guilt or I have to take on an engagement that will only overwhelm and stress me out. However that as a minister in finding balance I must still exhibit qualities of humility, flexibility, and a great attitude towards God, family and the church.