There are the Bishop’s working notes for a presentation he made on June 1, 2013 to the clergy of the diocese.
#1: A secure awareness of a relationship with God in Christ, in the company of the Church.
- Basically … “knowing the Lord” (saber vs. conocer)
- (sadly) Often the result of being raised outside TEC!
- Often the product of a mountaintop spiritual experience (retreat, Cursillo, etc.) from which they continue to draw strength
- This person can weather the personal relationship storms that inevitably beset parish communities, because, as much as they value their human relationships, their bedrock relationship is with Jesus … they will “be there” through thick and thin
#2: An ability to verbalize that relationship with confidence and clarity.
- Can I tell my “Jesus story” (not just “God”)? … naturally, organically … either concisely or in detail, depending on the circumstances
- Again, this ability is not native to the “skill set” of cradle Episcopalians
- We need to change that among the relatively few cradle Episcopalians we continue to produce! and …
- We have remedial work to do among everyone else … this is doable, there are strategies and techniques that can be taught and learned
#3: A basic familiarity with the long arc of the narrative of scripture.
- Creation … Fall … Promise of Redemption
- Covenants: Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Exiled Israel … all pointing to JESUS
- Key events of the gospels (even if “harmonized”)
- Key events from Acts: Pentecost … Peter’s preaching … Paul’s conversion … Paul’s missionary journeys … Paul’s arrest and final journey to Rome
- Revelation and the consummation of salvation history (not a code book of future predictions)
- This, too, is doable … there are resources
#4: A habit of corporate worship on Sundays and daily private prayer, along with related spiritual disciplines.
- Mass on Sundays, Principal Feasts, Ash Wednesday, Triduum
- Daily Office (some form thereof)
- Private Prayer (lectio, discursive meditation, Rosary, colloquy)
- Self-Examination & Confession
#5: An awareness of vocation—an instinct to ask the question, “What is God calling me to do?”
- “true humility & self-abasement” – it’s actually NOT “all about me”
- “your life is not your own; you are bought with a price” (I Cor. 6)
- Vocation confronts us at several levels: lifelong (marriage, career), life transition (new venues), near- and mid-term opportunities/challenges
- Discernment is not formulaic, but there are techniques
#6: An awareness of one’s spiritual gifts, and a passion for exercising them.
- Our baptismal theology links font and Spirit inextricably
- Is there a greater (or more scandalous) instance of “money left on the table” than the undiscovered and therefore unused spiritual gifts among the baptized people of God?
- There are LOTS of tools and resources in this area, some better than others. I have personally developed a process that I used with some degree of success in two parishes. Ask me if you’re interested.
#7: A cultivation of the classical Christian virtues.
- (theological) Faith, Hope, Charity
- (cardinal) Patience, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude
- Moral discernment growing out of virtue (& holiness) rather than grounded in visceral instinct