Spiritual and Christian Practices

What are spiritual practices? 
"Something that we do that helps us walk with Jesus." - Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
"A practice or relationship that helps to train us in faithfulness." - Marjorie Thompson, Soul Feast.
"Anything that opens you up to the presence of the Divine." - Gloria Johnson, Associate Pastor WMPC





Christians have long recognized that a serious approach to spiritual growth requires attention to a spectrum of spiritual habits or disciplines. Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline has reawakened many contemporary seekers to the vitality of practices reaching back across the centuries. Individuals, couples and families who wish to deepen their experience of God’s presence will do well to study Foster’s book. He broadly categorizes spiritual practices in three areas:
Inward disciplines  Outward disciplines Corporate disciplines 

Meditation
Prayer
Fasting
Study

Simplicity
Solitude
Submission
Service
Confession
Worship
Guidance
Celebration
                                From Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, rev. 1st ed. (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988).


Discussion of the Sabbath
This podcast discusses Sabbath and provides some additional resources.


Excerpt from an article by Diana Butler Bass:
Congregations that intentionally engage Christian practices are congregations that experience new vitality. The sentence combines three components: intentionality, practice, and vitality. Further defining them, I point out that intentionality involves choice and taking responsibility for individual and communal spirituality; that practice is not a program, rather it is a meaningful way of life; and that vitality cannot be measured in terms of numbers as it means spiritual health and maturity. A vital congregation is one where all people—including the pastor—are growing members of an organic community of spiritual practice."..........read more here.


The Problem of Noise in our Lives
An excerpt from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us, by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
"It is difficult to find silence in an age of technology and information. Silence challenges our cultural addiction to amusement, words, music, advertising, noise, alarms and voices. Silence asks for patience and waiting. And both silence and waiting make us uncomfortable. They seem so unproductive. We can't tell if we are doing anything in them. So when we come upon silence, we fill it. We cram it with something else we can learn or do or achieve. .... Read more. (Includes helpful suggestions and reflection questions)


Practicing our Faith
This website is based on the book, Practicing our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People by Dorothy C. Bass, Editor. The site explores twelve practices shaped by the Christian community over the centuries and still richly relevant to contemporary experience.  These Christian practices are shared activities that address fundamental human needs and that, when woven together, form a way of life that is faithful and has integrity. The site’s library contains essays, study guides, sermons, and other items that explore the concepts on which Practicing our Faith is based. You are invited to search, read, and print these materials without charge. 


Spirituality and Practice
This website lists 37 practices (i.e. compassion, hope, justice) that are markers of the spiritual life. Recognized by all the world's religions, they help us connect with the Divine, our true selves, our neighbors, and the whole Creation. Each of the 37 practices has a description of the practice and resources to accompany it--recommended books, movies, excerpts, exercises, prayers, music, art, and much more for your spiritual journey.