• "...to bring good news to the poor... proclaim release to the captives... let the oppressed go free..."
  • (Luke 4:18-19)

    Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People

    By Rev. Sandra Hasenauer, associate execute director
    Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People

    I have recently come across a book that I think would be an excellent resource for self-study, but even more so for a women’s ministry group. Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People, edited by Dorothy C. Bass, is an excellent way to explore how you are enacting your faith in your personal life as well as how it is being enacted in your ministry together. The book includes contributors from a variety of denominations, racial/ethnic groups, socio-economic backgrounds, and perspectives.

    Although reading the word “practices” may lead you to think this is yet another book on what we traditionally consider spiritual practices—prayer, fasting, worship, and so forth—this book widens that concept to address “way of life” issues and, especially, moves from the realm of personal spirituality to how our lives together give evidence to our Christian beliefs; hence my strong suggestion that this would be a good study tool for a women’s ministry group, especially its leadership team.

    The twelve practices included are: Honoring the body, hospitality, household economics, saying yes and saying no, keeping Sabbath, testimony, discernment, shaping communities, forgiveness, healing, dying well, and singing our lives. Again, each of these topics is addressed from personal and group perspectives, and each takes you in directions you wouldn’t expect from the chapter title.
    I would highly recommend reading the Preface, Chapter 1, and Chapter 15 first. The Preface includes information about how the 2010 edition relates to and updates the original 1997 edition; it helps situate the 2010 edition in our contemporary life and shared history. Chapter 1 provides the background for everything that follows; Chapter 15 offers suggestions for how to use this book in a group (just swap the word “congregation” for “women’s ministry group” in the chapter). There are twelve practices in all, which suggests a nice format for a monthly discussion. Additionally, the book is set up well for shared leadership: There is a section at the end entitled “Suggestions for Conversation and Reflection” that gives a very easy-to-follow outline for studying each chapter in a group setting. Volunteers could lead one month’s discussion using the outline with very little preparation needed.

    If you’re looking for ways to have your leadership team or members of your women’s ministry think a little more deeply about their lives together as disciples of Christ, this is an excellent opportunity. Consider putting it on your ministry calendar for the 2016-2017 program year!
    There is also a website related to this book, with additional resources, stories, and photos of communities engaging more deeply in the practices: http://www.practicingourfaith.org.

    (Using the Amazon link to the book in this article helps support AB Women’s Ministries. Thank you!)

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