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Reading Maketh a Full Man...

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Currently reading

The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto)
C.S. Lewis
Boys and Girls Learn Differently!: A Guide for Teachers and Parents
Michael Gurian, Terry Trueman, Patricia Henley
Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet
Christian Wiman
Deep River: The Life and Music of Robert Shaw
Keith C. Burris
Daring, Trusting Spirit
John De Gruchy
The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
John Thavis
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
Orlando Figes

Giving Church Another Chance: Finding New Meaning in Spiritual Practices

Giving Church Another Chance: Finding New Meaning in Spiritual Practices - Todd D. Hunter, Scot McKnight "Giving Church Another Chance: Finding New Meaning in Spiritual Practices" is a book about the church journey of Todd D. Hunter and the things that he has found valuable along the way. Todd Hunter became a Christian as a teen and started his Christian walk in non-denominational Bible churches -- Calvary Chapel California first and then the Vineyard Church. He was teaching Bible studies and classes early in his 20's and eventually became a pastor. After living in the non-denominational Bible church world, teaching and preaching there over many years he found himself dried up and tired. He did not doubt his faith or his salvation, he was just tired and in need of spiritual refreshment. At one point he found himself no longer pastoring a church, and at this point his family (wife and two children) decided they would like to not attend church at all. It seems they too were all burned out and tired as well. Todd could not stay away from church, so he began to attend a nearby Episcopal church. In the high-church liturgical services he attended he found the worship elements that have been practiced by Christians for thousands of years. He was fed and comforted and built up in the regular elements of the service, elements he had never really heard of or experienced before. Eventually, Todd became an Anglican and is currently a bishop, working with the Anglican Mission in the Americas (www.theamia.org). This book is written for the "de-churched" (as he terms them), people who have been in church but have been fatigued and hurt and somehow starved in the church itself. Hunter's own experience seemed to show him that a constant emphasis on the new, hip, culturally trendy church left him feeling emotionally manipulated and over-studied. He wanted a balance of stable, historically deep richness from a church tradition that reaches back to the time of Christ. Hunter does not anywhere criticize or lay blame, he merely suggests that things are out of balance and writes to encourage that there is a balance to be found in the practices of the ancient Christian church. He is thankful for the godly teaching he grew up under and now is thankful for the godly worship he is learning. The book is organized to walk a person through a high-church Christian liturgical service. For someone from a Bible church, that might include totally unfamiliar elements. Hunter starts with the prelude, singing the doxology, scripture reading using a lectionary schedule, hearing sermons, the offering, communion and ending with the benediction. Time of quiet prayer, reflection and meditation. Praying prayers aloud with other Christians. Specific times of prayers of repentance, reconciliation with others (the giving of the peace). The purpose and meaning of communion. Being sent out into the world to minister to the world via the benediction. These liturgical elements go back to the time of the early Christian church. The pattern has been used in Anglican, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Eastern / Russian / Greek Orthodox churches for hundreds of years. Hunter suggests that there is worth and value in studying and practicing the spiritual disciplines of the church. Know and study your Bible, yes. Be Biblically literate and "study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (discerning) the word of truth" (II Timothy 2: 15 ), absolutely. But recognize that Christianity has a history of practices that have been handed down like well worn tools, handed down to the next generations for use. If the well worn tools are used, the work is made easier. If they are not used, then the work can be hindered or slowed down while suitable new tools are invented then cast aside or invented and then broken in for use. Hunter suggests that we not reinvent the tools. Use the ones our Christian brothers and sisters in the past used, and then hand them down to the next generation.I would recommend this book. For those who have grown up in high-church Christian liturgical services, it is a reminder of what you have been doing, perhaps without knowing why or understanding the scriptural basis for it. For those who have not, it can be an introduction and a way to understand the very regular rhythm of worship that has been ongoing since the early Christian church. An interesting interview with Todd Hunter is here in this article from "Christianity Today", http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/september/11.66.html .