Lectio Divina approach to preaching

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Christian Alexander | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Feb 19 2022 10:35 AM

I am doing research on the Lectio Divina approach to preaching. I have read this article “Preaching As Lectio Divina: An Evangelical and Expository Approach” (co-written with Susan P. Currie). Evangelical Homiletics Society 1 (2004): 10-24. I want something deeper. Can someone make a good suggestion? 

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Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 19 2022 12:36 PM

I just did a Google search using the topic of this thread. There are some interesting posts - I don't have access to your original article, so no way to compare the collected thoughts, but you may find something of value.

Blessings,
Floyd

Pastor-Patrick.blogspot.com

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 19 2022 1:00 PM

Floyd Johnson:

I just did a Google search using the topic of this thread. 

Well, I guess Mr Challies didn't hold back:

https://www.challies.com/articles/a-danger-of-lectio-divina/ 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 19 2022 2:09 PM

Okay, I am totally flabbergasted. I'd become aware that "lectio divina" had become a Humpty Dumpty word (one that means whatever you want it to mean) and even experienced a dreadful hybrid of it in my own parish. But I can provide you some excellent resources on traditional lectio divina, Lectio divina is primarily an individual practice with some group adaptations (a common way to open meetings in my parish at one time). It is never denominational or expository ... there may useful hybrids that are but not the "real deal". For those unfamiliar with traditional lectio divina:

The traditional four fold method of Lectio Divina:

  • Lectio: The actual reading and re-reading of the text, usually biblical, until certain words or phrases call forth our attention.
  • Meditatio: the rumination on key words, phrases or images, allowing them to evoke something within the reader.
  • Oratio: These words, phrases or key words eventually evoke or inspire prayer. We hear the word and respond in loving dialogue.
  • Contemplatio: Dialogue gives way to silent awareness of God’s presence. We simply abide with God as long as attracted by God’s grace.

My apologies for the outburst but stealing my tradition's vocabulary for something quite different is a strange type of abuse that makes communication across traditions even more difficult.

Note this is not the place to argument the fundamental differences in theology exposed here. However, I believe that the simple procedure that is traditional may be offered without explanation.

Edit: on further "google research" I found what has been bastardized most frequently in the misappropriation. The definition of contemplatio:

Traditional lectio divina:

Dialogue gives way to silent awareness of God’s presence. We simply abide with God as long as attracted by God’s grace.


Bastardization:

beginning to imagine how a text might be lived out

I.e. changing God's action to human action. See why I'm annoyed?

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 19 2022 2:19 PM

DMB:

Thanks for this reference. Challies, although I disagree with him, seems to have actually done his homework. Not 100% accurate but definitely well-informed and understands where the actual issues are. He even caught the distinction between text and living word.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 19 2022 2:52 PM

MJ. Smith:

My apologies for the outburst but stealing my tradition's vocabulary for something quite different is a strange type of abuse that makes communication across traditions even more difficult.

Yes, I can see where 'hijacking' the vocabulary is becoming more and more, almost aggressive.  I cringe at some of the usage these days.  Latin had its benefits in strict usage.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 19 2022 8:07 PM

I found the article at Book (ehomiletics.org) - it is really quite good despite the conflation of lectio divina (quiet watchfulness) with Ignatian exercises (active imagination). I suggest that the place for you to start, Christian, is with the bibliography

1. Mariano Magrassi, Praying the Bible: An Introduction to Lectio Divina

2. Ignatius of Loyola. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola -- read for information don't try to do the exercises without a guide.

3. Eugene Peterson. The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction. I'm not familiar with this particular book but I trust the author.

I would also suggest that you acquaint yourself with Richard Foster if you aren't already familiar with him. Finally, I suggest you read a book that will seem unrelated but, trust me, it truly is: Roberta Bondi's To Love as God Loves: Conversations with the Early Church

Once you have those five authors under your belt, you should be able to ask more targeted questions that are easier to answer.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 20 2022 3:15 PM

I think if someone switched contemplate for practice in Ezra 7:10 you might wind up with Lectio Divina as an approach to preaching, but it would be dead wrong. 

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 20 2022 3:25 PM

I don't understand your sentence. What would be "dead wrong"?  What this particular article encourages is seeing how the God's word challenges/changes you before doing the exegetical work to tell others how it should change them.

P.S. Your example of changing a word in Ezra 7:10 seems misplaced as lectio divina is NOT a replacement for study nor even time taken from Bible study, It is an independent spiritual discipline.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 20 2022 7:36 PM

DMB:
Yes, I can see where 'hijacking' the vocabulary is becoming more and more, almost aggressive.  I cringe at some of the usage these days.  Latin had its benefits in strict usage.

Yo see we're cool and relevant yet retro and edgy so let's say "Missio Dei" instead of just "mission of God" because we heard some guy say it and it sounds cool even though we don't know a single other word of Latin..

(Sorry. This one's been bugging me for a while.)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 20 2022 8:02 PM

Sean:
we don't know a single other word of Latin.

I believe that Greek and Syriac deserve equal time with the Latin. This Western prejudice just gets to me.Wink

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Roger Pitot | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 21 2022 12:41 AM

A few years back I bought four books on Kindle at a reduced price. They are part of a series by Stephen J. Binz called Ancient-Future Bible Study Through Lectio Divina. In the introduction he states:

"Ancient-Future Bible Study unites contemporary study of the Bible with an experience of the church’s most ancient way of reading Scripture, lectio divina. By combining the old and the new in a fertile synthesis, this study helps modern people encounter the sacra pagina, the inspired text, as God intends it for the church. Through solid historical and literary study and the time-honored practice of lectio divina, the mind and the heart are brought into an experience of God through a careful and prayerful reading of the biblical texts."

The four volumes are Abraham, David, Paul and Peter. Each chapter contains sections on Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, Contemplatio and Operatio.

I love these books, but the practice they recommend does require time.

 

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 21 2022 3:52 AM

Here’s one example among many on how it’s done in YouTube: https://youtu.be/JCNJE9njUVA 

DAL

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 21 2022 2:53 PM

Roger Pitot:
The four volumes are Abraham, David, Paul and Peter. Each chapter contains sections on Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, Contemplatio and Operatio.

Note that Stephen Binz is using an adaptation of the traditional lectio divina with an added step, operatio. This addition is often very useful, especially when introducing lectio divina to an American audience or using it in a group setting.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Roger Pitot | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 22 2022 10:44 AM

MJ do you know the book or the author -  Opening to God: Lectio Divina as Life and Prayer by David G. Benner? It's on special at Faithlife, a bargain but I don't want to add to my collection unless it might add something to my prayer life.

https://ebooks.faithlife.com/product/221335/opening-to-god-lectio-divina-and-life-as-prayer

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 22 2022 12:29 PM

Roger Pitot:

MJ do you know the book or the author -  Opening to God: Lectio Divina as Life and Prayer by David G. Benner? It's on special at Faithlife, a bargain but I don't want to add to my collection unless it might add something to my prayer life.

https://ebooks.faithlife.com/product/221335/opening-to-god-lectio-divina-and-life-as-prayer 

Thanks! I purchased it.  I’m working on a lesson on prayer and want to include new insights to me other than the usual.

DAL

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 22 2022 3:17 PM

Roger Pitot:
MJ do you know the book or the author -  Opening to God: Lectio Divina as Life and Prayer by David G. Benner?

I don't know the book but I do know the author. He is generally good on the topic.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Br Damien-Joseph OSB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 23 2022 10:50 AM

This is probably well known, but for those unfamiliar it needs to be said. Lectio Divina is primarily inward-focused; it's about God speaking to you through the Holy Scriptures. Anything that comes outward after that--such as preaching, teaching, writing, application, morals, etc.--is secondary, perhaps a side-effect. At least, in the West, that's how it's historically been understood. But as has been said in this thread, there have been many interpretations of lectio... I have seen some put more emphasis on the outward aspect (adding a fifth step, lectio, oratio, meditatio, contemplatio, actio... lol), and some put no emphasis on it at all. So it's really as MJ has said... it's basically whatever each person wants it to be; I'm sure one can find an author who describes it in a way that conforms to their expectations.

Buuuuttt.... I would be remiss to not point out that our contemporary, Western understanding of Lectio Divina typically begins in the 12th century with prior Guigo II's work, The Ladder of Monks, which is strangely not in Logos, though Logos does have many other works by its English publisher. So, if you wanted to look at it from a historical perspective, you can't miss that book. There are certainly things older, but most contemporary understandings of contemporary lectio go back to prior Guigo II's formulation.

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 23 2022 5:25 PM

Br Damien-Joseph OSB:
Guigo II's work, The Ladder of Monks, which is strangely not in Logos

There is a piece by Guigo II which I think is a different translation of The Ladder of Monks, called "The Ladder from Earth to Heaven" in Letter & Spirit, Volume 2: The Authority of Mystery: The Word of God and the People of God. But it's sure hard to find unless you happen to already own that volume. It would be good to have Ladder of Monks as a title in one's library.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 23 2022 5:35 PM

Great catch Rosie

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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