From the Pastor: The Examined Life

Friends, Family, and Members of Knoxville Pres, 

I know this is Sunday.  We just worshiped together, but I wanted to send out an email regarding a few things and recommendations regarding the new year.  I'll be emailing again around mid-week to remind you about the first Sunday of Epiphany.

Below I have forwarded Richard Rohr's daily email.  This year he is starting a great series.  Today's email by him is a snapshot of where he plans on going with it.  If you have time, read through it, and if you would like to sign up for it, click HERE.

Sarah and I don't so much set "New Year's Resolutions," rather we try to use the new year as a time of reflection in order to reorient ourselves or create habits that are more reflective of our values.  I thought I would share some of the principle thoughts behind this:

Introduce yourself to new ideas: Take some time and pick out some books, documentaries, and/or articles that will challenge the way you currently think about God, life, people, and the world.  

Introduce yourself to or try a few new habits:

  • Try something like minimalism. There are several different projects you can attempt, like the 333 Project (HERE), or many others touted by some of the more public minimalists, such as The Minimalists, Joshua Becker, or Zen Habits. Zen Habits has a pretty cool calendar breakdown according to the seasons, HERE.
  • Maybe commit to a more self-sufficient and sustainable way of being - gardening, or maybe gardening is too big of a jump, maybe trying to purchase as local as possible; buying clothes and food that benefit people all the way down the supply chain, taking the time to research this and then commit to it.
  • Maybe you need to try to get into better health with exercise and a better diet - stewardship of the body
  • Journaling. in fact, I would add journalling to any new habit so you can go back and read through what you have learned
  • Commit to getting to know new/other people - people on the other side of the aisle (whatever that aisle is), not to convert them but to learn from them and just be friends.

Finally, today, today we talked about living an examined life.  For me that means the following, of course using the life and teaching of Jesus as the lens:

  • Being more intentional and thoughtful about the way we spend your time vs. allowing ourselves to be swept away by the assumed rhythms of our culture
  • Being more present with those around us, and put the screen down. Ever walk into a room full of people on screens? It's just sad. Turn them off.  Take the off the table when you are eating or visiting. Leave them in the living room when you go to bed.  Stop thinking about what is next...connect with the lives around you!
  • Being more outward focused - listen and think about the needs of others and their perspective
  • Being more responsible for learning what it means to live like Jesus

Anyway, we'll send out another email sometime mid week to go more in depth into next weeks epiphany assignment!