One of the things I am being strongly motivated to investigate at present is a “Rule of Life”.
It’s crazy really. I have been a Christian for almost 30 years. My Protestant heritage has meandered from High Anglican through to Baptist, then to “Bapti-costal”, to full-blown Pentecostalism and now to rediscovering what it is to simply be a Christian .. and yet, it’s not been until now that I have “stumbled” onto this ancient practice of the “Rule of Life”.
The Apostles of old, the Desert Fathers and the medieval, or, Ancient Mystics all had profound insights into the how to live the Christian life with a true, living and sensual spirituality coupled with a pragmatic desire to see the rule of Christ’s Kingdom extended here on earth. How is it then, that after nearly 30 years of church life, it has only been in the last eight years or so that I have slowly ”stumbled” onto more and more of what has been known for milennia? Why has all this remained hidden from me for so long?
These are questions I cannot answer but I am so thankful that they are now “coming to light”. In many ways, it was John Sandford who triggered this quest within me. As a young and developing prophetic ministry, I was struggling with my identity. Why was I so different to most? Why did I seem to be alone in my experiences? Was I as weird as some suggested I was?
John Sandford helped me to see that I was simply a prophet in the making and that a part of that “making” was the “dark night of the soul”. This led to the discovery that an ancient mystic named St John of the Cross had already written extensively about this process because he had lived it almost a thousand years before I was born. Guy Chevreau then suggested I tap into some of Thomas Merton’s writings on Contemplative Prayer as a precursor to reading St John of the Cross. Graham Cooke talked with me many times about the writings of the Desert Fathers and the Ancient Mystics.
What a rich tapestry of Kingdom experience and history is woven by these authors. Writings not borne out of “perhaps” or “maybe”, but insight borne out of hard won experience in the Secret Place before God. We need what they have to teach. It is far richer and more penetrating than almost all of the froth and bubble available at our local Christian bookstores today.
I have a confession to make. I am prone to distraction. I’m a gadget-guy and as such I think I would make a good magpie. Anything bright and shiny has the potential to catch my attention and steer me off course. I have to be very careful to maintain my focus. As a result, it seems to me that investigating the development of a “rule of life” may in fact be one of the things that will ensure I lead a dedicated and fruitful life, committed to the very specific things to which I have been called.
Maybe you see some of yourself in my confession. Perhaps then, you and I will realise that developing a “rule of life” for ourselves in this day is not such a far fetched idea. So, go on! Cross the line. Decide to step over the barriers we have built up between ourselves and other Christian traditions and delve into a wealth of life-changing experience.
The following is reprinted for your consideration …..