Jesus practiced and invites his followers to three major disciplines:
- Spiritual practices
- The critique of worldviews
- The practice of LOVE in the world
Jesus engaged in spiritual practices: to pray individually, to fast, to pray with his disciples and to participate in the worship life as a faithful member of the People of Israel. In these practices he remembered who he was as God’s beloved child, as a part of a community of God's beloved ones who were to be a blessing to all people and the creation.
Jesus engaged in theology and Bible study as a way to critique his larger culture, the leaders of his faith community and how his people were responding to that culture. Theology and Bible study are ways to evaluate the proposals of our larger culture and how they form or deform human beings and human community. The Jewish tradition began as a way to critique the worldview of the Egyptians and how their gods supported the enslavement of some and the power of others. Jesus continued this practice in his own time as he proclaimed God's kingdom of power-with each other within the Roman kingdom of power-over others.
Jesus took time to public practice LOVE. Jesus walked from village to village and proclaimed that God's way of mutuality was among his people and near enough they could begin to live out love for their neighbors – to build their social capital instead of fighting over dwindling resources. He was willing to risk himself because he loved his neighbors and called together a group of people who shared his vision for the way the world can be.
Jesus invites us to do the same. He invites us to take time with each one on a regular basis. Each of these inform and support the other. These three practices have often been separated from each other. Some gravitate to the spiritual disciplines, others to theology and Bible study, and others to some form of public leadership.
Yet to be whole, we all are invited to take part in all three.
Each of these primary disciplines are a central part of being human and to becoming more authentic to the person that God is creating us to be.
And this is the point: God is not trying to ask us become someone else or to conform to some pre-programmed idea of the ideal human being; rather God is creating us to be more authentic to who we are.