Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Five: Spiritual Practices

Mary Beth, over at RevGals offers this Friday Five:

For today's Friday Five, please share with us five spiritual practices or disciplines from your experience. They can be ones that you have tried and kept up with, tried and NOT kept up with, ones that you flirt with at various times, or even practices that you have tried and found are definitely NOT your cup of tea. Let us know what's worked for you...and not.

Image: Austin Garrett Ward, Expressive Theology

1. Prayer - Prayer is a fundamental part of my spiritual life. Praying is both a communal (in church and small groups) and individual practice. Prayer is a means of expressing praise and thanksgiving to God for all wondrous things, and prayer is also a means of expressing frustration, fears, doubts, and concerns about the world, other people, and myself. Prayer is an opportunity to listen, reflect, and deepen my relationship with God. 
2. Reading - Reading scripture is important, but what is also very important is reading books that explain scripture. We don't naturally know the cultural contexts of these texts. I also read books about theology, spirituality, and history. I read lots of science fiction and fantasy, but not as a spiritual practice. :-)
3. Teaching/Being Taught - I teach by preaching, leading bible studies, and teaching adult education classes. I learn so much through teaching because I am taught by what I read for preparation, thinking through what I believe, and listening to other people's interpretation, experiences, and questions.
4. Silence - I am uncomfortable with silence and am easily distracted when I try contemplative prayer in a quiet room.
5. Walking - Walking alone in nature is a practice that is easier for me than silence inside. This is also a quiet activity, but the surroundings inspire thought and prayer in a way that indoors and lack of motion do not.