What’s in Your Toolbox?

20130717-075344.jpgI think one of the most significant challenges of our life in Christ is believing that it’s not just a one time event, but a journey. A journey in which we are invited to grow continually. There are many ways in which we walk through this journey. And it often looks and feels a little different for every person. Christians grow in our life in Christ through something called “Spiritual Practices” or “Spiritual Disciplines” or “Contemplative Practices”.

Think of things like intentional times of quiet prayer or yoga or walking a prayer labyrinth or meditation or the liturgy of the hours. These are just a few of possibilities. Check out the Merton Institute or the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society for more examples.

As part of our experience at the Re:Fresh retreat this week, we are practicing and studying many of these disciplines. We are boldly asking each other the question “What’s in your spiritual toolbox?”

One of our teachers, Joe Stabile, offered this as a definition for a Spiritual Discipline. He said, “A Spiritual Discipline is any act habitually entered into with your whole heart as a way of awakening, deepening, and sustaining a contemplative experience of the inherent holiness of the present moment.”

In other words, a Spiritual Discipline is something that we actively enter regularly and through the rhythm of this practice we become more fully aware of God’s holiness and presence in every aspect of our life. Joe explained it is way, “So often we think we need to try and work our way toward some sort of unity with God, when in reality we are already in union with God.”

Spiritual Disciplines don’t require you to set aside several hours each day. And your salvation is not dependent upon whether or not you utilize these tools of faith or are any good at practicing them. But I believe deeply that they help you and me walk through every hour of our day experiencing just how incredible this relationship with God is.

So…what tools are in your Spiritual Toolbox?


About Bishop Craig Schweitzer

The Rev. Craig Schweitzer, of Bismarck, was elected as bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod on July 17, 2020, in the first-ever digital Synod Assembly. A historic event, Schweitzer is the first bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to be elected in an online assembly. Bishop Craig Schweitzer began serving the Western North Dakota Synod-ELCA on September 1, 2020. He has always seen himself as an easy-going person who seeks to daily discover anew how God is present in his life and the world in which he lives and serves. Prior to service in the Office of Bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod, Bishop Craig served at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck, ND as Music and Worship Minister (lay staff from 2002-2010), Associate Pastor (2010-2014), and Senior Pastor (2014-2020). Beyond his service in the church, he has an eclectic background that is a diverse collection of musical, educational, and business experiences ranging from live concert production and promotion to recording studios and live performance to music education. Throughout all of his professional and personal experiences, the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome have been a guiding light that has kept him grounded in whatever work God was calling him into – “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7) Bishop Craig is a graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership. He also holds a certificate degree in Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA. He was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament on September 16, 2010. Outside of his life as Bishop, Bishop Craig enjoys reading, all music, a little golf, a cold beverage with friends, and intentional times of quiet. And, of course, spending time with his wife Wendy and their adult twin daughters Ilia and Taegan. View all posts by Bishop Craig Schweitzer

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