Bishop Mariann’s Blog
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Thank you for the great expression of interest in a diocesan initiative to explore what it means to be a follower of Jesus as Episcopalian Christians. You have responded from every corner of the diocese to the simple idea of reading a spiritual book together and finding ways to share questions and insights. I have been deeply moved by your many e-mails and Facebook and blog postings. Many have offered to help organize this initiative, for which I am deeply grateful.
Pondering how we might begin, I am reminded that, in the words of author Inagrace T. Diettrich, “The early followers of Jesus Christ were not called people of ‘the experience,’ or the people of ‘right doctrine,’ or the people of ‘moral values,’ or even the people of ‘the church.’ They were called the people of ‘the Way.’ ” They were known for the way they lived, not only for what they believed or valued. Christians were associated with a particular and discernible way of living and relating that both grew out of their faith and gave testimony to that faith.
And so I propose that our first book be one that focuses us on what it means to live as a Christian, to walk the path of Jesus, aptly titled: Finding Our Way Again, by Brian McLaren.
McLaren writes: “You can’t take an epidural shot to ease the pain of giving birth to your character. In a sense every day of your life is labor: the rhythmic agony of producing the person who will wake up in your body tomorrow… Spiritual practices are actions within our power that help us narrow the gap between the character we want to have and the character we are actually developing… They are ways of becoming awake and staying awake to God. For the kind of person you are becoming determines how much of God you can experience—and maybe even which version of God you experience.
We will begin this diocesan initiative, People of the Way, in early March, as the season of Lent begins. If you’d like to help, or participate, or ask a question, let us know by e-mail or by posting a response on this blog. I am very excited about the possibilities before us, as we all deepen our understanding and our experience of what it means to be followers of Jesus in our time.