It occurs to me from time to time that I might actually want to share some of my background thinking for many of my more blanket statements on "stuff."
Especially where liturgical stuff is concerned, this is the case. I love to just say something and let it hang out there to be interpreted however the wind moves. It is a specific joy.
But lately, I have been finding myself using the term "discipline" in many of my conversations. I use it in lieu of "dogma"...or to give a framework for Christian dogma/systematic theology. Typically I find that this is a good term to use when speaking with people full of questions. I encounter these people often when I hang out with my musician and actor friends. Most are used to me by now, but every so often I am introduced to someone new and they want to know about Christianity. They typicall ask their questions three or four martinis into the evening, so I try to keep things clear as I can. One thing that helps is to steer clear of the terms "doctrine" or "dogma." There is a knee jerk reaction against them. So, "discipline" works well. Somehow the people I can talk to can then think of Christian belief and practice with the same charity they approach other religions. Cool, no?
Richard J. Foster's book, Celebration of Discipline is a great place to begin to get at what I mean by discipline. I think I may reexplore his book and post on it from time to time.
Here is how he divides up discipline:
The Inward Disciplines: meditation, prayer, fasting, study
The Outward Disciplines: simplicity, solitude, submission, service
The Corporate Disciplines: confession, worship, guidance, celebration
Even the way he divides things up is interesting. I think this may be a worthwhile experiment.