You may not have looked recently at the core values of the Diocese of Christ Our Hope, but I encourage you to reacquaint yourself with how we have described our identity.
One particular piece stands out for me as we approach this year’s Convocation and Synod. It’s the value entitled “Transformational Discipleship.” Here’s a key section:
“One gift of our Anglican heritage is a path of spiritual transformation that includes solid biblical teaching but that is much more than that. Disciples are not formed through simply downloading correct information. Discipleship is transformative, into the image of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor 3:17-18).”
That’s the commitment that has guided us each year as we have planned and offered a wonderful array of gifted speakers, who have helped us think more deeply about our faith and its implications for faithful living. As you know, our rhythm up to now has been to alternate emphases on the inner life and gospel-culture engagement. With the launching of a variety of strategic initiatives, we have decided to shift gears, and, beginning this year, to make each year’s Convocation focus a topic related to the value of “Transformational Discipleship” and to relocate the gospel and culture focus.
Our plan for the latter is to build a learning community of clergy and laity committed to advancing the gospel as the most plausible and winsome means to a flourishing society for all people. In a separate annual gathering, we will equip leaders to understand the cultural influences shaping hearts and minds in our society, engage those influences through the lens of cultural apologetics, develop effective strategies for counter-formational ministry, and serve as public theologians for their communities.
So, to this year’s theme and keynote speaker for Convocation: “Spiritual Rhythms for Wise Living” with Dr. Chris Hall. He wrote recently:
“Some things just take time. Skewed perspectives and behaviors developed over years of persuasion and practice rarely change in a moment’s recognition and repentance. Embedded habits of thinking and acting, the deep grooves in our minds, hearts, and actions, surely can change, but the rhythms of spiritual transformation are most often slow, paced, measured, deliberate.”
We are all infected by hurry sickness, even when it comes to the life of the spirit—trying to rush things that cannot be hurried if deep healing and extensive transformation are to occur.
In three talks under the theme, “Spiritual Rhythms for Wise Living,” Dr. Hall, recently retired President of Renovare, will address what we’re up against—the fatigue, disillusionment, and distraction, the noise and hurry—and our longing for wisdom and integrity.
Flattening the Curve (Genesis 3): In his first talk, Dr. Hall will turn to Augustine and Luther’s justly famous diagnosis that we are all incurvatus in se, curved in on ourselves. What are the cultural forces used by our Adversary to reinforce our innate self-absorption? And how can we get spiritually straightened out?
Bearing the Image (Colossians 1:15ff): As he continues to look at spiritual rhythms for wise living, Dr. Hall will turn in his second talk to the apostle Paul and will explore how we can be more deeply formed into the image of Christ.
Breaking the Mold: Finally, in his third talk, Dr. Hall will look carefully at Jesus’ withdrawal, the essential movement described in Luke’s Gospel (5:14f)—‘he slipped quietly away to deserted places for prayer’—and echoed in Paul’s Letter to the Romans (12:1-2)—‘Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within…’
This promises to be a rich and stimulating Convocation. I hope you’re planning to join us in Roanoke.