3. Classic Christian Practice & Discipline

Last Judgement (St. Sozomen's Church, Galata, Cyprus)
Last Judgement (St. Sozomen's Church, Galata, Cyprus)

Orthodoxy (right belief or right worship) is intimately linked to orthopraxy, right practice.  How we live matters.

Often, in today’s world, right living for the Christian means simply “moral living.”  If we obey the law of the land, avoid certain things, such as lying, sleeping around, stealing, etc, and read the Bible & pray, we’re okay.  Others imagine that right living for Christians is social action — feeding the poor, lifting up the oppressed, peacemaking, working to preserve creation.

Morality and social action are good and important.  However, there should be a greater underlying way of life that supports and holds these together.  This way of life is the life of the classic spiritual disciplines, ways of living and ordering life that have been lost to many Christians today, Protestant & Catholic alike, and for those who retain them, they are often merely formalised and lifeless.

The classic disciplines ought to be regained and retained if we are to live lives of integrity that look like Jesus.

These traditional spiritual disciplines have been practised by most Christians in history and are found in Richard Foster (Celebration of Discipline) or Dallas Willard (Spirit of the Disciplines): meditation & contemplation, prayer, fasting, study, worship, simplicity, solitude, submission, service.

For some, Classic Christianity will express itself with icons, incense, and traditional liturgical music.  For others, it will mean a sanctification of the creative arts and life as worship.  For all, it means a rediscovering of the classic writings, teachings, and practices of the Christian faith.

I believe that from a life of discipline, from a life marked by contemplation, fasting, and joyful worship, moral and ethical behaviour shall flow forth into the world.  We shall not cease to live lives of moral integrity when we start to live the disciplines.  We shall not abandon social causes.  We shall not put aside evangelism.  Instead, our vision for these activities will be clearer and our energy to live them and do them for Christ and His cause will be strengthened and enlivened.

This is but a brief taste of rediscovering the disciplines.

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