Personal Patterns pt. 1

Lately I have been asked a lot about my personal rhythms, as in what kinds of reading, blogs, books, meditation, and spiritual patterns do I engage. With that question usually comes the personal balance question as well.

Since I haven’t written much about this lately I thought I would log a few thoughts for your consumption, critique or blatant disregard.

A few axioms to start the conversation. This will serve as installment number 1 and we will follow it shortly with a 2nd.

Axiom #1
The more you progress through stages of faith development (I am thinking Fowler’s stages here, but Scott Peck or Ken Wilber’s Altitudes apply equally well) the more important a changing menu of patterns and practices.

I have become increasingly convinced a locked in or set pattern is the quickest way to stagnation. I say be wary of the phrase “but you always have to do _________ don’t you?”

Stages of faith. Are you familiar with the concept? You need to be and you need to understand how a regula fidei changes as we move through various stages.

Axiom #2
In an external world of increasing noise creating an internal world of increasing quiet may be one of the premium patterns we need to learn.

I am quiet certain most of us in Western Christianity have little understanding of this and for us quiet means we pray silently, telling God what we need, how he needs to act on our behalf, and how to basically run the affairs of the world. But actually creating a quiet center and then sitting in it? That seems to be relatively rare in my experience.

Question. Can you sit for 20 or 30 minutes without daydreaming? Without your thoughts wandering? Without being distracted? Can you sit in utter interior silence? The great mystics say this is the beginning of insight and connection with the God.  And it can create a healing space, a sense of unshakable stability and even a crazy confidence.

Axiom # 3
Life long learning is a non negotiable for development and creativity.

I am discouraged by the patterns I see guys and gals in ministry engage when it comes to really stretching their learning. Many haven’t read a challenging theology or philosophy piece in years. Many haven’t done any cultural analysis in years. Very few have book lists with books that really force new thinking. Part of this though is we allow writers to write simplistic ruminations because we buy the stuff.

What is on your reading list? Oh….reading list? Let’s ask that questions first. Do you have a reading list? What on it is really going to intellectually stretch you, what on it is simply fluff?

Axiom #4
You have to have creative outlets for fresh insights to dawn.

I love to cook, paint, do digital art, and read architecture books. The one to one correspondence to these outlets and creativity isn’t visible but I am convinced it is present.

What are you creative outlets? When was the last time you had a real creative ah-ha or hit a creative zone that was off the chart? What things catalyzed it? What surrounded the experience? Can you reproduce the zone?


5 Responses to “Personal Patterns pt. 1”

  1. As usual, I love your insights. Especially because they are about growth rather than a “to-do” list. Thank you for sharing.

  2. hermipowell Says:

    I live in creative spontaneous random moments. I appreciated what you said about learning, “Life long learning is a non negotiable for development and creativity.” A challenging theology or philosophy piece is not something I gravitate towards, but I am becoming more intentional recently to try. Thanks.

  3. […] when you shoot for involving people in mission, community comes.”  Concerning ministers, Ron Martoia said on his blog, “Life long learning is a non negotiable for development and creativity. […]

  4. Hey Ron I just want to thank you for your insight. I read two of your books and have been blessed by them both 🙂

  5. a new teacher this is so usefull in adressing personal restraints…difficult to brake established patterns though….

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