Rose Madrid-Swetman

ā€” Random Thoughts, Stories of Life, and Questions about the Journey ā€”

July 4, 2013

VCC Summer Book Study

Category: All Posts,Books & Mentors,Community,Mission – Rose – 2:18 pm

book study This Summer we (VCC) are reading through Mark Scandrette’s book, “Practicing The Way of Jesus” in order to guide our faith community into imagining more and more ways in which we can live into our faith.

We want to provide a space here for discussion around the book’s ideas. So, with that in mind let’s begin with thoughts, inspiration, questions about Chapter 1, “An Invitation to Experiment.”

Some of my thoughts:

1. I love the language of “experiment.” A friend of mine once said that when he meets Jesus he hopes Jesus will say, “Good try!” It suggests that formation happens both in the wins, the losses and the simple attempts we make.

2. I was inspired by the Have2Give1 experiment. I actually could see Leslie leading some folks from VCC in this type of experiment! I liked that it was time-bound (8 weeks) and I really liked how it led those that participated into asking deeper questions about their heart posture toward money, possessions, and consumption (pg 12). The idea being as we participate in these practices it leads us to the heart of the formation questions. I also love that they gave thousands of dollars to benefit others out of what was clutter in their lives. Beautiful!

3. The idea of doing tangible experiments taking us out our heads and into our bodies with a group of others wanting to change and grow by exploring how to integrate the teachings of Jesus into our everyday lives is very, very appealing to me. How about you?

4. “Through surrender and practice, Jesus expected his apprentices to be like him.” (pg 16) – I want VCC to be a community of practice that can experiment, will be inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus, that will commit time and energy to practices that can form us in this way of life, and will have the courge to reflect on what it means to be a counterculture community that is finding a new way to be human – together.

5. We are invited to live into the Kingdom of Love, a kingdom characterized by love that is both present and progressing. I like the idea of our church community gathering in small groups to imagine how they are being invited to experiment together practices that could actually make a positive difference in bringing a holistic view of what it means to be truly human.

What are your thoughts, questions, inspirations?


  1. I am only into the book now for 21 pages and am very inspired by what is laid out here. It is radical, real, holistic, transformational, and countercultural in ways I am willing to investigate and challenge myself with. What does following in the Way look like for me personally? What questions can I ask myself? What could this lead to for me, my life?

    The author talks about this as being serious about scripture, action focused, communal, experiential and connected to real world challenges and opportunities. I do want to be authentic and integrated in my faith. What creative ways could emerge from this that might challenge me in those areas?

    I appreciate the experimentation approach, i.e. a Jesus dojo, a space where we can work out the vision and teachings of Jesus–a place of the way. Experimentation is safer to me, allows for integration. I can take small steps, creative steps, make mistakes, have dialogue, invite others to dip their toes in…dip my toes in. See what we like–or don’t like. That I can buy into.

    I’m in.
    Thanks for this discussion. Looking forward to more conversation.

    Comment by Leigh Harvey — July 10, 2013 @ 5:57 am

  2. “Live encounters take us out of the realm of theory and rhetoric and give us a living story to tell.” (pg 77).

    Each page and each story presented by the author is dynamic, creative and challenging. Ch. 5 deal with human trafficking. I like the measured approach to learning about human trafficking, caring about it, fasting, asking what Jesus thought about it, but didn’t leave it there. Then they went out and saw and met those to whom were victims or perpetrators, and came back and reflected and asked questions of themselves about it. That is out of the box, and serious about delving into an issue with full integrity, action not just words.

    I believe transformation can really take place in these settings because of the depth it is willing to go in order to change. “..creates a supportive environment where transformation is likely to occur.” (pg 82)

    I like the challenge this presents. I am thinking about what would I like to do…what would I like to explore…challenge myself…There’s tremendous variety presented…room for many, many opportunities. hmmmm….

    Comment by Leigh Harvey — July 22, 2013 @ 7:16 am

  3. I am a little slow in reading this and just finished chapter 2, but this is what I’m noticing right now:

    The statement “Anyone we admire for the Christlike beauty of their lives became that person through a series of small steps of risk and surrender” in comparison with the anxiety I feel over experimenting again with risk.

    In my story, the small steps of risk I’ve taken have led to bigger and bigger risks. I am wrestling with:

    1. The fear that as I take small risks, it will lead to a bigger risk that will end badly.

    2. The fear that I have “passed the stage” of taking small risks in my life and God is only going to ask me to risk big from here on out.

    As you can see, both of my statements start with FEAR. I think that for many people fear is a huge barrier to taking risks. As I have been learning my own story, I have been struck again and again with the difference between what Jesus is inviting me to and what others (myself included) are demanding of me.

    Comment by Amy Balmer — July 26, 2013 @ 11:02 am

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