Cyprian and the Lord’s Prayer

Good thoughts by Cyprian, a 3rd Century Bishop from N. Africa:

“The Lord has given us a pattern of prayer, instructing us on how we are to pray. He has made it easy for us to be heard as we pray to the Father in the worlds taught us by the Son. What prayer could be more a prayer in the truth than the one spoken by the lips of the Son, who is truth himself? To ask the Father in words his Son has given us, to let him hear the prayer of Christ ringing in his ears, is to make our prayer one of the friendship, a family prayer. Let the Father recognize the words of his Son.”

I like the Family Prayer idea! Good stuff!


Basil of Caesarea

Basil of Caesarea (330-379) was an influential thinker/preacher during a pivotal time in early Church history. He was a leader in the monastic movement, starting a place called “The New City” (also called Basiliad). This community of men and women provided medical care, food, clothing, and shelter to the poor of Caesarea.

“When someone steals a person’s clothes, we call him a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to those who need it; the shoes rotting in your closet to the one who has no shoes. The money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”

Source: Common Prayer: A Liturgy to Ordinary Radicals

George Fox Quotation

I found this quotation in the Common Prayer: A Liturgy of Ordinary Radicals about George Fox:

George Fox, founder of the Religious Society of Friends, wrote, “People must be led out of captivity to God. Be patterns, be examples that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them. Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone.”

I like the idea of not just examples but being “patterns”.

Tim Keller Article in Leadership “To Transform a City”

Here are some highlights from the article. You can read the article here.

There are 3 layers for influence:

1. A contextualized biblical gospel theology- a ‘God ordained third way between legalistic moralism and licentious relativism.” We need to prevent both extremes. Martin Luther famously said that the church errors in these ways like, “A drunk man, having fallen off the horse on one side, gets back up and falls off on the other.”

A church needs to also have a Contextualized Gospel- Keller notes that contextualization has more to do with culture than theology. We can have maturity in theology but not engage the city in a useful way. This may be the tale of many churches in cities today. Keller also gives the warning of over-adapting. Al Hsu also notes that a local church should try to be contextual and counter-cultural in tension.

2. Church Multiplying Movements from a wide variety of traditions. The general ethos of a city, then, would be a missional one in tone. Different faith tribes have much to offer. Keller implores Christians to be Christian first, and their faith tribe second. If many tribes in a city have vibrant and growing churches, planting churches routinely, etc., then the whole city begins to have vibrant churches in more places.

3. Ecosystem of ministry networks- Keller recommends ways for churches to influence and nurture one another. He gives 7 different kinds of networks:

a. City-wide prayer
b. Specialist evangelism, movements reaching people of various ages, locations, stages, nationalities, regions.
c. Justice and Mercy
d. Vocational faith/work initiatives
e. Institutions that support the family in the city
f. Institutions of theological training
g. Christian leaders coming together

Keller feels that a critical mass and tipping point happens when 10-20% of the population (civic and social culture is recognized as reached).

Keller feels that new church starts are important, citing that new churches reach Non-Christians at a rate of 5-7 times the rate of older churches.

Northumbria Distinctives

I’ve been using the Northumbria Celtic Prayer pattern for a couple of months now. I finally broke down and bought the book that has it all together, without having to go online. Richard Foster wrote the Forward to the book. As he visited the community, he shared 3 commitments they have in the community:

1. Taking vows of availability and vulnerability. These extend both vertically and horizontally.

2. They dedicate themselves to a way of life that is anchored in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7 of the NT. The sermon is should not be ‘relegated to another dispensation or viewed as utopian sayings to be admired inĀ  the abstract.’ The community has taken the courage to live these among the current pressures of the culture we find ourselves in.

3. A daily rhythm of prayer. No matter where you find these folks, in crowded places, in school, or in homes- there is a pause to keep a steady gaze towards God with Celtic fixed hour prayer.

The Shape of Practical Theology notes

Shape of Practical Theology Notes

Pages 1-95

Practical Theology demands a very specific understanding of the nature of theology. It demands that the theologian holds the practitioner to the truth of God’s revelation in history and that the practitioner hold the theologian accountable to the truth of God’s reconciliation in humanity. (23)

Practical theology begins with 2 questions: What shall we do? How then show we live? (35)

Theological reflection is the activity of the Christian and the church by which acts of ministry are critically and continually assessed in the light of both revelation and reconciliation as God’s true Word. (55)

Theological reflection does not ask, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” because this question would imply his absence. Rather, it asks the question, “Where is Jesus in this situation and what am I to do as a minister?” (56)

When scripture is interpreted in such a way in that direction is sought for lives who need to be conformed to the true ‘author’ of scripture through the power of the Spirit, but he himself is a ‘reader’ and interpreter of scripture in every contemporary moment. (56)

Discernment is the recognition of the congruence between the Christ of Scripture and the Christ of ministry. This discernment is both exegetical and practical and arises where the Holy Spirit has control over both the mind and the heart. Discernment can only be tested ‘in ministry’ for it is a judgment rendered on behalf of persons in need of Christ’s presence as much as it is true information about Christ. (56)

It is always the task of the Church, admonished Karl Barth, to give an account of its theology in the light of the contemporary situation and the dogma of Christ’s ministry of reconciliation. (74)