Monday, June 14, 2010

Memory

A dear girl in our church is leaving us and I have seen her grow up in Christ amazingly while she has been with us. As she leaves, I wanted to give her something of value as a parting discipleship gift as she moves on to a new home, new job and very different life.

What to give her?

Most of what little I know I have gleaned from others. While I was at Vicar Factory I happened one day upon a series of box-sets of teaching given by a man called Eugene Peterson at Regent Vancouver. At the time, I was very disappointed with the teaching I had received and mystified by what my place of supposed theological learning had come up with on their menu of things it thought we needed to know (there was an exception or two thankfully). The fact that people rarely refer to their notes ever again should be a clue. I am still amazed at some of the content they filled our hours with.

Peterson says theological colleges are the very worst places to go to learn about God. Thankfully his set of tapes tucked away in the corner of my college library saved me-they really did- and I immersed myself in this man and his wonderful teaching. Everywhere I drove for two years I listened to Peterson and read all his books such that he became my spiritual father and friend. I did try to share my secret discovery and enthusiasm with my friends but they largely concluded that "He's boring" or they said they had no idea what he was on about. I guess they must have found other mentors (or maybe they didn't)

Why am I telling you this (again)? Well, while reading Soul Care the other day I came across this bit of wisdom from Dallas Willard.

"This practice of memorizing the Scriptures is more important than a daily quiet time, for as we fill our minds [with these great passages] and have them available for our meditation, “quiet time” takes over the entirety of our lives...."

This one sentence reminded me of something Peterson said in his teaching called Soulcraft (do you think he and Dallas might be friends?) He said that if you were to memorise one piece of Scripture in the bible it should be Ephesians 1: 3-14. He set this task as his one piece of course homework for his class of students and told them it would change their lives.

So that is the task I set my friend as my parting gift (together with committing Proverbs 3:2-11 to memory).

I saw her this week is she is on her way.

Why don't we all join her. Park your dutiful quiet time for June and learn these verses. Trust me it will be hard. But if you do it it may resource you for a lifetime. Do one verse a day. Write it on paper, put a note on your iphone, mull on it, write it on your doorposts (or fridge) and let it 'dwell'. This is perhaps what Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is on about?

You might also like to read Practice Resurrection which are those Soulcraft talks published as a book. I have been reading each chapter slowly and am loving it.

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