Spiritual Disciplines

Reading Plans

As I mentioned earlier, I've been a bit all over the place with my spirituality this year, particularly my spiritual disciplines.  Getting back on track, I started the M'Cheyne Bible Reading plan and have been fairly consistent since I started.  This will be my second time through the Bible- last year I used Biblegateway's OT/ NT plan, but this year I wanted to do something with shorter passages and a bit more variety.

Are you using a Bible reading plan this year?  If so, which one, and how did you pick it?

Church Curriculums

On the days that I didn't do the M'Cheyne, I've been going through a church curriculum (to remain unnamed) with my small group.  I find it slightly inane.  I've been writing my snark in the margins.  I considered scanning and posting reasoningwithvampires style, but considering as how someone (sadly) might legitimately find this study helpful, I don't want to discourage anyone or cause anyone to stumble.

The main beef I have with this curriculum is that it 1) assumes that Christians are infantile and 2) contributes to the prolonged infancy of the church.  I'm pretty sure that this book repeats messages verbatim from what I was taught in the third grade.  Given that this book has been around for 20 years, the copying was probably the other way around, but what I mean to say is that there is very little substance.

On top of that, it presents the material as if it really were talking to third graders.  There will be a paragraph of text (not biblical text, mind you, but the author's mindless dribble) , then reading comprehension questions on that paragraph of text (again, like third grade), and then another paragraph identical to the first paragraph giving the answers to the questions.

Really?  This is what churches have been using to "grow" for the last twenty years?  This actually explains a lot.

Oh, and on top of it all, this book bases itself on a 7-step formula (PS It's not Best Life Now...)  I thought we agreed a long time ago that you can't get to God by applying a series of steps or following a formula.  I thought relationships were more complicated and beautiful than that.  I thought God was a person and not some sort of end-goal.

Does your church use curriculum books?  Do you find them beneficial or distracting?  How do you think publishers can improve church curriculums?

Bible Memorization

From my blogroll today, I found out that Desiring God has a "Fighter Verses" program, which I never knew/ heard of before.  Like many people who grew up in the church, I memorized a lot of Scripture as a child (including 21 full passages as part of a school program), but my memorization waned as an adult.  It's something that I've tried to pick up on occasion, but haven't actually followed-through with it.

But, this time around, I have this guide to help me.  It makes a lot more sense than what I was trying to do before, so I'll follow-through this time.

I've been wanting to memorize a book, and I'm considering either 1 John or Ephesians.  1 John, because I've already tried to memorize it on a few occasions, it's a good kick-in-you-pants book, and frankly, I could use a good kick-in-my-pants.  Ephesians, because I've done two small group studies on it and have heard two church sermon series on it.  It's a book with which I'm incredibly familiar, and I already have a few major passages (most of chapter 5, all of chapter 6) memorized from when I was a child.

I'm hoping to decide on a book and set a schedule by this weekend.  Which book do you think I should choose?  How much of a priority do you put on memorizing Scripture?  What do you have memorized, and what techniques did you use to do it?