Friday, May 27, 2011

From Fun to Study (my spirtual disiple plan- part a)

I gave my talk on D. B. Clayton at this years Universalist Convocation, showing them my 4 inch thick binder of material. Five days later, I find out more "important" information: he gave a talk at a local gathering of the Greenback Party. Now his son was active in the party (and it looks like everyone listed moved over to the Independent Republican Party), but does this mean that Father Clayton was a Greenback too? And of course, how much charisma did he have? Will I ever come to an conclusion on exactly who was Clayton? Probably not... but that's part of the fun.

I haven't been doing a systematic study of Clayton, just whenever it strikes my fancy. After the convocation, it began to become clear to me that I haven't done that work (or others) with much

Listening to folks at the Convocation, I heard the word "spiritual discipline" and "spiritual study". Disciple? Study? Isn't this taking the fun out of it?

Are study and discipline bad words? I've been blessed with the hereditary gift of reasoning and memory, but cursed with the hereditary gift of poor attention-span; so I really dunno. I read books in bits and pieces, and always have. I often have 5-6 books at a time, that I am reading.... not including magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, etc.
I certainly find this an interesting mosaic of thoughts and ideas. But does it lead to clear thinking on one issue? It does mean that it may take me months to read one short book.
(Novels are excluded). I've spent 50 years reading this way - can I muster up the discipline to change? I've gained 30 pounds in 2 years - one would hardly think I could even spell discipline.
So I'm going to try - both to lose weight (which won't be focused on here) and to study.

Now, I'm still going to be reading too many books at the same time (some things take time to change), but I'm going to pick deliberately two books to focus on. And yes, they're religious books.

One will be scripture or ancient wisdom. Pre-1500, so this copy of Declaratio doesn't count, nor does Swedenborg - at least not yet.
One will be Unitarian, Universaist, or Unitarian Universalist Association related.

I will be traveling a lot this month, so I will start with separate travel books A Calfiornia Pilgrimage (1915- Frederick A. Bisbee), and The Cotton Patch Version of Paul's Epistles (1968 - Clarence Jordan). At home, it will be the Harper Collins Study Bible, New Revivised Stardard Version (c1989) and the Biography of Hosea Ballou ( 1853-M.M. Ballou). I plan to read about a chapter of each a day. Ballou should take 16 days (minus the days i'm on the road).

The temptation is to say what I'll read next: the Lotus Sutra? George Rogers Commentary on Romans? But that might cause me to be distracted, so I won't say what's next.

I note this is part A; part B is always how we implement what we read.