Sunday, February 19, 2006

passionate practices

bates.jpg We are passionate; God is passionate; The task of being Christian is to connect our passions with the passions of God – these are the words which are forming and re-forming Digestion, our evening service.

We’ve been on a journey for the last 2 years. First we went interactive with sermons and giving a variety of ways to respond. We would often conclude with something to digest; something to take home and do. A good start, but we were moving too quickly and in a busy week, you’d often lose the practise. So this year we are making these take-homes the focus, rather than the extra.

Week one we tell the stories of some passionate people and introduce a passionate practice; Week two we explore the theology behind the practice, and encourage them to keep practising; Week three we explore a Biblical story that speaks to the practice and encourage them to keep practising; Week four we celebrate by inviting people to share what practising the practice has meant for them. Four weeks to let the practices shape our lives. Four weeks to practice and in doing so, to let our passions connect with God’s passion.


We spent the last 2 weeks laying foundations. We explored how we are passionate (green cards) and how God is passionate (yellow cards). We finished by invited people to paint their hands and commit themselves to a year of practising the passions.


Tonight we introduced the first practice – discernment (here’s the take home practises handout). The passion was music; the passionate stories were of Bono and Brooke Fraser and the point was to explore how we discern God in our music.

Helpful resources I have been reading and playing with over the last 6 months while shaping this up have included; 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.

My only critique is that most of the practices do not focus on pop culture. Hence we have started by introducing discernment as the first practice, and we are inviting people to practice discernment in relation to their favourite music. I mean how theological yet practical is that; sourced in God’s passion, really practical tools for living that are earthed in one’s music world.

Posted by steve at 08:37 PM


  1. I wondered if you would post the ‘take home handout’… and you did! In all the after church activity, I forgot to get one! Will post on OBY blog for those who were forgetful like me.

    Comment by amy — February 19, 2006 @ 11:38 pm

  2. Steve, Ignatius’ EXAMEN (as an ongoing life-time practice)is arguably one of the most fruitful ‘methods’ of growing ones ability to discern the movements of God – of learning to find God in all things – inside and out.

    I think Ignatius’ aim in the Examen is seen most clearly in Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia (chapter 5).

    Comment by Paul Fromont — February 20, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

  3. Thanks for posting the handout on discernment. I am very good at being passionate about what I do and believe in, but sometimes I can act very impulsively and do not wait to think through the consequences or appreciate the actions in a spiritual context.
    What I tend to struggle with is when I am passionate about something I give everything I do so much commitment, energy, and effort that I find I become intolerant with those that don’t match my expectations, or I don’t believe are doing their jobs adequately, or competently.
    I expect everyone to have the same standards, values, respect, honesty, loyalty, and trust that I do.
    Thus I tend to get let down, and disappointed a lot. I really need to focus on box 1 a lot more this year.

    Comment by Paula Weir — February 21, 2006 @ 10:36 am

  4. Did you was the paint off after or just let it wear off? Didn’t yet read much of your stuff but glanced and commented.

    Comment by Lew Latona — March 5, 2006 @ 3:04 am

  5. Lew,
    the paint was acrylic so that it could wash of and water. we had buckets of water, towels and soap, and people washed their hands once they were done.

    people got right into it, some even took their shoes off and painted their feet.

    Comment by steve — March 6, 2006 @ 8:01 pm

  6. steve
    which stories did you use? i’m looking for some ideas ..


    Comment by nigel — March 17, 2006 @ 9:12 pm

  7. Nigel,
    the stories depend on the practice. The first practice we looked at was discernment in music. So we told stories of passionate musicians we were passionate about. Next week we start pilgrimage so I am looking for the story of a pilgrim. The point is to “embody” the practice and give some “heroes”.
    Does this answer your question?

    Comment by steve — March 18, 2006 @ 1:04 am

  8. yup


    Comment by nigel — March 18, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

  9. Hi Paula,
    I know where you are coming from. Working on this myself. Somebody said to me yesterday Disappointment is about fear of death So theres something to mull over.
    Love nicky

    Comment by Nicky jenkins — March 22, 2006 @ 11:50 am

  10. Hi Nicky

    Are you an ex Middleton Grange pupil?. I remember a Nicky Jenkins from my time there. 1987-1989
    Thanks for your comments.

    Comment by Paula Weir — May 16, 2006 @ 9:28 am

  11. Hi Paula, No, I am not the one you knew. I am from Scotland. There is a famous gymnast of the same name I am sometimes confused for, but not if you saw me in the flesh!
    To continue the theme of passion Where do passion and anger meet/ diverge?Is it OK to be passionately angry?

    Comment by Nicky jenkins — May 17, 2006 @ 9:29 am

  12. I think it is absolutely ok to be passionately angry. I think of Jesus in the temple when all the merchants were selling their wares and corrupting a place of worship. Jesus showed his anger and overturned the tables. Jesus also showed anger when confronting immoral and irreverant behaviour, and also anger when protecting the weak and those unable to defend themselves against corrupt leaders. Along with this anger he also showed forgiveness and the willingness to give those who had fallen a second chance, and this is I believe an essential tool to utilise when using productive anger.
    I consulted my pastor on this one as it is an area I have struggled with a lot this last year and we both agreed there are right and wrong ways to deal with anger.
    I believe as long as we are constructive not destructive with our anger this is okay. In my case I am protecting my children from hurt, and betrayal, and standing up against dishonesty, at the same time as helping others by highlighting the wrongs done to my family by those we should be able to trust in the hope that these professionals will never act in such misinformed or hurtful ways again.
    We had a very good sermon on anger which I know was recorded and if it is an area you struggle with a great one to listen to I am sure I could access a copy.
    Hope this is helpful as I am just a beginner at controlling my anger productively.

    Comment by Paula Weir — May 17, 2006 @ 11:04 am

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