Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Doctorate in the Practices of Monastic Spirituality

Congratulations to Gary Stuckey, with news last week that his doctoral thesis has gained examiners approval and he will graduate Doctor Gary in May. I’ve been working with Gary for the last four years on his Doctor of Ministry. It was a fascinating project that mixed having a go, critical reflection and deep reading in the Christian tradition.

Essentially Gary tried to plant a fresh expression of monastic spirituality. He used a short course approach, offering a year long training in monastic spirituality. At the same time, in order to rigourously test his practice, he sought to measure participant’s spiritual experience, at the start, middle and end.

His thesis reflects on his learnings, all the while reading deeply from across the centuries in how monastic patterns were developed and how they sought to form faith. At the same time, Gary becomes increasingly dis-enchanted with what he considers the historical rootlessness of much of what currently trades as new monasticism.

Finding Your Inner Monk: Development, Presentation and Assessment of the Effectiveness of a Program Introducing the Practices of Monastic Spirituality

With a growing interest in monastic spirituality, Gary Stuckey developed and presented a program introducing participants to historic monastic spirituality and its contemporary significance, and spiritual practices drawn from the Benedictine tradition. His thesis assessed the effectiveness of the program in enhancing participant’s spiritual experience as measured by the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale. The project also identified each participant’s spirituality type with a view to determining whether or not it was people with a more contemplative nature who were attracted to and benefited from the program. Gary found that the program did help enrich people’s spiritual experience. The resource material presented, the learning of and reflecting on spiritual practices, and discussion with other participants were major factors in the outcome. While most participants were of a contemplative type, not all were. Those who were not generally benefited from the program, opening the possibility of its wider application in the future.

It was a fascinating and multi-faceted project to supervise, by a creative, dedicated and hard-working person.

Posted by steve at 12:32 PM

Sunday, July 25, 2010

updated: Build-your-own prayer stool: some useful websites

I’m wanting to build my own prayer stool. Not sure why, it just seems a creatively, impulsive thing to do. Sometimes, creative impulses are worth following. A quick surf of the web reveals a few useful websites

  • For best creative graphics go here.
  • For softies, ie tips for padding, go here
  • For a prayer stool that collapses down, due to the use of hinges, go here.
  • For an ecological angle on the project, go here.

So the next step is to go and get the necessary pieces of wood …

Update 1: Here it is …

complete with hinges, so it can be folded …

I am happy to make these, at cost plus postage, for anyone who wants. Just leave a comment …

Update 2: And one of my students has just taken this a step further. They are wondering about starting worship by inviting those gathered to make their own prayer stool.  Wood and nails will be provided. And people invited to make their own, then use their own during the worship. (Then take their own away – the ultimate spirituality2go takeaway).

Posted by steve at 03:15 PM

Thursday, August 31, 2006

txt blessings as passionate Christian practices

We are passionate (about connecting with each other using our cell phones). God is passionate about connecting with us. Passionate practices connect our passions with God’s passions.

cellphone.jpg And so the passionate practice for the month of August at Digestion (Sunday evening church) has been using cell phones to text blessings. We have used Sunday evenings to run text challenges and explore how God blesses us. We have used Wednesday evenings in our youth small groups to experience blessing prayers, translate Bible benedictions into txt language, and come up with their own txt blessings.

Sunday evening was our celebration service that ended the passionate practice for the month. A lot of work went into from Opawa Youth Group.

obysunday.jpg Photos from Jas’s blog.

At the celebration service we plan some way for people to share what they have learnt from using the passionate practice during the month. How has God been at work in us as we have lived Christianity passionately, in our daily practices, (in this case, of texting blessings), during our Monday to Friday lives?

So these were shared, the txt blessings, produced by our young people during the month, and shared with us on Sunday.


Posted by steve at 08:07 PM

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

txt blessings


We are passionate about communicating via our cell phones; God is passionate about communicating with us. Can we use our cell phones to communicate God’s blessing? The passionate practice for August is texting a blessing.

This blessing was one example suggested:
U r nt a accident
U r unique
U were creatd 4 a purpose
God loves u

For an introduction:
to passionate practices go here; for a passionate practice of discernment go here; for a passionate practices of pilgrimage go here.

For book resources:
Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church gave an initial theological framework and opened my eyes to passion as a way to affirm youth spirituality; God bearing life:The Art of Soul Tending for Youth Ministry, which has excellent reflection on passion and passion in youth ministry; and Soul Tending which is stacked with actual practices.

Posted by steve at 04:40 PM

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

passionate practice of pilgrimage

Here are some pictures from Sunday night.

We have spent 5 weeks in our 2nd cycle of passionate practices – pilgrimage – walking toward, and then walking away from, Easter. We had preached around texts following Jesus to and from Easter. Practically, the passionate practice has been to
a) Walk and pray a pilgrim prayer
b) Attend Easter Camp
c) Cyber pilgrimage using online labyrinth.

We kicked off, five weeks ago, by inviting people to step into sand, as a way of commiting themselves to walking in pilgrimage with Jesus. Easy enough to then make plaster moulds of their feet, and to lay these feet out every week. On Sunday we talked about the resurrection and how it brings colour and life. We invited people to colour their feet and re-lay them, as a celebration of Resurrection life in our walking with Jesus.


For the start of passionate practice of pilgrimage see here.

For an overview of passionate practices and spiritual formation see here.

For books resources: Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church which gave the initial theological framework and opened my eyes to passion as a way to affirm youth spirituality; God bearing life:The Art of Soul Tending for Youth Ministry, which has excellent reflection on passion and passion in youth ministry; and Soul Tending which is stacked with actual practices.

Posted by steve at 05:09 PM

Sunday, March 26, 2006

passionate practice of pilgrimage


We kicked off another passionate practice for the next 5 weeks of Digestion, our evening service. (The passionate practice for last month was discernment of music.)

I told the stories of two pilgrimages that inspire me; Celtic peregrini and walking the Camino de Santiago. We then offered a number of stations; communion, praying for Easter camp and plaster casting our feet (which will evolve over the next weeks). The passionate practice of pilgrimage, could be embraced in the the following concrete practices;

1.Go for a walk each day for the next 5 weeks. As you walk, pray the same pilgrim prayer. See what you learn.

God be with me in every pass,
Jesus be with me on every hill,
Spirit be with me in every stream,
Each step of the journey I goest

2. Go to Easter camp.

3. Do an internet pilgrimage. Go here twice a week for the next 6 weeks.

Posted by steve at 09:24 PM

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

an iPOD spirituality OR passionate practices of discernment

cdcross.jpg We ended the first cycle of passionate practices – discernment of music – on Sunday. (I introduced the concept on my blog here).

Theology: We are passionate. God is passionate. Passionate practices help us connect our passion with God’s passion.



Posted by steve at 10:41 AM