Attaching to God: Neuroscience-informed Spiritual Formation

080: Finding Freedom in Constraint—Reimagining Spiritual Disciplines with Jared Patrick Boyd

November 21, 2023 Geoff and Cyd Holsclaw Season 5 Episode 80
080: Finding Freedom in Constraint—Reimagining Spiritual Disciplines with Jared Patrick Boyd
Attaching to God: Neuroscience-informed Spiritual Formation
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Attaching to God: Neuroscience-informed Spiritual Formation
080: Finding Freedom in Constraint—Reimagining Spiritual Disciplines with Jared Patrick Boyd
Nov 21, 2023 Season 5 Episode 80
Geoff and Cyd Holsclaw

We often think that freedom comes through casting off what controls us, and that we need to find our true selves apart from community.  But what if it is the constraints of the spiritual life that set us free? What if it is focused practices in community that lead to the flourishing of individual lives? 

Today we are talking about finding freedom in constraints. 

Our guest today is Jared Patrick Boyd. He is a Vineyard pastor, spiritual director, and Founding Director of the Order of the Common Life, a missional monastic order. Jared is also the author of Finding Freedom in Constraint: Reimagining Spiritual Disciplines as a Communal Way of Life (IVP 2023). 

Stay Connected:

  • NEED spiritual direction or coaching that aligns with this podcast? Connect with Cyd Holsclaw here.
  • Join the Embodied Faith community to stay connected and get posts, episodes, & resources.
  • Support the podcast with a one-time or regular gift (to keep this ad-free without breaking the Holsclaw's bank).
Show Notes Transcript

We often think that freedom comes through casting off what controls us, and that we need to find our true selves apart from community.  But what if it is the constraints of the spiritual life that set us free? What if it is focused practices in community that lead to the flourishing of individual lives? 

Today we are talking about finding freedom in constraints. 

Our guest today is Jared Patrick Boyd. He is a Vineyard pastor, spiritual director, and Founding Director of the Order of the Common Life, a missional monastic order. Jared is also the author of Finding Freedom in Constraint: Reimagining Spiritual Disciplines as a Communal Way of Life (IVP 2023). 

Stay Connected:

  • NEED spiritual direction or coaching that aligns with this podcast? Connect with Cyd Holsclaw here.
  • Join the Embodied Faith community to stay connected and get posts, episodes, & resources.
  • Support the podcast with a one-time or regular gift (to keep this ad-free without breaking the Holsclaw's bank).

[00:00:15] Geoff: We often think that freedom comes through casting off whatever might be controlling us and that we need to find our true selves individually before we can move into community. But what if the constraints of the spiritual life are the things that set us free? What if focused practices in community lead to the flourishing of an individual life? 

That is what we are talking about today. Finding freedom in constraints. This is the embodied faith podcast with Geoff and Cyd Holsclaw. Uh, if I could talk, uh, neuroscience informed spiritual formation produced by grassroots Christianity, which is growing faith for every day people. Today we have on again, about two years ago, a couple of seasons ago, we had Jared Boyd on, he is a vineyard pastor, spiritual director, and the founding director of the order of the common life, which is a missional monastic order. And Jared is also the author of the recent finding freedom and constraints, re imagining spiritual disciplines as a communal way of life. Jared, thanks so much for being on with us today. 

[00:01:18] Jared: It's great to be here, guys. 

[00:01:19] Geoff: we get to see you a bunch. We were all at a vineyard conference in Toledo just earlier this week. 

So it's so fun to get to see and hang out with you in person, but now we're back at it again, virtually. So really quick, uh, we 

[00:01:32] Cyd: Before, well, wait, before we move on, I just want to make a comment to all of you aesthetic people out there. 

[00:01:40] Geoff: If you're watching. 

[00:01:41] Cyd: for this book is nice. 

[00:01:43] Geoff: Yes, it is nice. I I'll put it up 

[00:01:46] Jared: Yeah, 

[00:01:46] Geoff: the 

[00:01:47] Jared: it's, 

[00:01:48] Geoff: Uh, if you're watching on YouTube, there we go. It's very nice. 

[00:01:51] Cyd: no, but I mean, I like the feel of 

[00:01:53] Geoff: Oh, it's one of those touchy ones. 

[00:01:55] Cyd: accessible rather than like glossy. I like it. I like it. 

[00:01:59] Jared: it does stain quite easily though, I 

[00:02:02] Cyd: Yeah, but that just makes it more loved. 

[00:02:05] Geoff: right. It's very touchy. It's very nice. It's very nice. Okay. So before we get to the book though, you are the founding director of the order of the common life, which is a miss missional monastic. Order and practice. Could you tell people a little bit what that is? Oh, and full disclosure, Sid and I are a part of all this. 

So we didn't want people to not know that, but could you tell us a little bit about, uh, about that and then that'll lead into, uh, kind of what you spent your last couple of years working on. 

[00:02:33] Jared: Yeah. So, um, you know, when people ask me to describe what is the order to the common life, oftentimes I just ask them, you know, have you heard of the Jesuits? You know, Jesuits, uh, were, were founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. And, um, of course, most people have heard of the Jesuits. Most people know someone who is a Jesuit because there's some famous Jesuits out there. 

And my response is to say, imagine if the Jesuits were founded in the 21st century out of the Vineyard Movement. So, uh, what we're trying to do is trying to reimagine what a religious order could be in the 21st century. And, um, we're drawing on the whole tradition that goes all the way back, uh, to the desert fathers and mothers. 

Um, and trying to recontextualize that for our day. So that's what the Order of the Common Life is. And I'm happy to chat more 

[00:03:25] Geoff: we'll have a link to that. In the show notes, but really your book is really all about like, why would we need such a thing? So, uh, we can jump right into it. And again, the title of the book is finding freedom in constraint, which I love. So I love linking freedoms and constraints, which we'll get to in a second, but let's just talk really quick about the subtitle. 

Uh, why is it, why is it that you feel like that we need to re imagine spiritual disciplines in a communal way as a communal way of life? Like why, what do you feel is missing there? 

[00:03:55] Jared: Yeah, I think most of what I have read in the past 15 or so years around spiritual disciplines or practices tends to have a framework that lends towards individualized practices. Like, what can you as an individual do? That is a spiritual discipline or a spiritual practice. And, um, listen, I think that's really helpful to think about our life. 

What can I practice? You know, we've got a daily routine, or we've got our own personal prayer practice. All of that's, that's important. We do have a personal, individual relationship with God. But when I think about the history of spiritual disciplines, or the concept of rule of life, which is, um, sort of making a, making its way around the world right now, Um, historically, that's always been practiced in community, almost always been practiced in community. 

And I think when we divorce it out of that context, I think we run the risk of doing what, um, what we in Western Christianity have done so well, which is to individualize our faith in a way that actually makes it anemic in ways that it never was intended to be. So I just think that disciplines, spiritual disciplines. 

practicing all needs to be done with people in a vulnerable way in order for it to have any real lasting change in our life. 

[00:05:17] Cyd: can you say a little bit more about what you mean by practicing with people? Like some people might be hearing that and going like, so am I supposed to be always with people practicing things together? Um, so maybe say a little bit about that back and forth between practicing individually and communally. 

[00:05:34] Jared: Yeah. So I think, I think practicing by ourself is always going to be part of the work that we do. But if we are practicing, um, Some of the same practices that other people are practicing that we're in relationship with and that we can talk about those things. So that's kind of what I mean by doing it in community. 

So like you guys live in Michigan and I live in Ohio. And yet we have both through the order of the common life oriented our lives around four rhythms of work, prayer, study and rest. And then 12 commitments and, and the fact that we're, we're, we're all sort of circling the same kind of practices in the same kind of life and that we're regularly talking about them means that we're doing it in community, even though we're, you know, what, 300 miles apart. 

[00:06:26] Cyd: Yeah. And there's people who are even further apart than 300 miles and, um, yeah, so just a little, like I've always, I appreciate that we look at a different commitment each of the 12 months of the year. So November was the commitment to hospitality and I love that it was not just having people in your home, but it's the hospitality of being truly present with others and the things that you need to set aside in order to be present. 

And so, and you know, As Americans, and I know not everybody in the order is an American, but as Americans, it was especially helpful to do that leading up to Thanksgiving, right? And, you know, in this idea of being hospitable with our presence as we are moving into this season of hosting and gratitude and being together. 

Um, and then having a formation group. Uh, to talk about these rhythms, rhythms with we're actually getting together with ours tonight. Um, and it's so exciting cause we have a local Michigan formation group, so we actually get to see each other in person, which is really nice. Um, but yeah, so I have appreciated the dialogue, right? 

The conversation that I'm not calling people up every day and saying, let's pray together, but we are having conversations about the commitment that we're all practicing in this particular month. You know, and incorporating those four rhythms that you were talking about. So just to sort of clarify what we mean by individual practicing together.  

[00:07:49] Geoff: Mm hmm. 

[00:07:50] Jared: Yeah, absolutely. 

[00:07:51] Cyd: to ask the question because I think, um, you know, many of our listeners know and I don't know how much I've talked about it, but, um, I am at my worst and at my strongest. Uh, I can identify with the Enneagram number eight. Which a lot of people know, eights and eights are really good at bucking the system and bucking the rules and saying, don't fence me in, right? 

Don't restrain me. Um, and so can you say like, I know we think of freedom sometimes as like lack of any restraint, lack of any boundary, lack of any restriction. Um, so your title is very different. It's finding freedom. In constraint. So can you say a little bit more about that concept of freedom coming from constraint? 

[00:08:38] Jared: Yeah. I mean, listen, our concept of freedom is very culturally embedded. In our life as Americans in Western society, and I think what I've learned and discovered just through research and reading some of the early church fathers and, um, just the tradition of the first six centuries of the church is that their concept of freedom was very different than our concept of freedom. 

And so for them, and this comes, some of this comes out of Greek philosophy and, and obviously the whole gospel was birthed into a particular time, but, um. You know, the apostle Paul picks up on this. It's for freedom that Christ has set us free, but certainly Paul's not talking about it's for the absence of constraints that Christ has set us free. 

No, it's freedom to what it's freedom to be who God's created us to be, which is like Jesus. So that we can love one another in the way that God loves. And, um, the ancient folk, and particularly in the early church, they viewed freedom as the freedom to be able to do what one actually wants to do at the core of who they are. 

And in the book I tell a story about, um, um, about, about someone who is caught up in sort of, um, constantly visiting a prostitute. And recognizing that that person who can't stop that sort of sexual compulsion to visit a prostitute is not actually free. They have the freedom to do that, but they're actually in bondage to their own desires. 

And so, much of the early church is talking about the ways in which our, our most base desires, um, actually are the things that keep us in bondage to things that we really want. And what do we really want? Is I really want to be able to love my wife. I really want to be able to love my kids and to love my friends, but there's things that are in the way of the practicality of me doing that. 

Rooted in pride and selfishness and things that have me all bound up. And so the book is about trying to get underneath what are the things that are prevent preventing you from, from loving and growing in likeness. 

[00:10:58] Cyd: Yeah, so that just, you know, brings up, we've talked about the Ignatian exercises and that whole disordered attachments idea, um, and we've talked a little bit about, you know, the neuroscience even behind those well worn paths, those habits that we tread. That we don't even think, think about doing, um, that we find ourselves in these sort of default responses to our circumstances, rather than being able to freely choose, we find ourselves just operating in our habits, um, or the pathways. 

Uh, so. Yeah, I resonate so much with this idea. So I'll just say I'm a little bit more redeemed as an eight than I once was and, um, have found joy in being able to move into this idea of consent, which you also talk about in the book. Um, so can you say a little bit about that, about like, what are we doing in situations when it's not something we're choose? 

It's not something that we want. How do we find freedom in those kinds of constraints, even when we don't want it? Mm 

[00:12:01] Jared: Yeah. So, um, you know, in in the book it's, it's roughly, you know, the, the practices of constraint that I lay out, um, there are six of them and half of them are. Our constraints that we choose and the other half that you're referring to are constraints that we consent to and I, um, borrow this idea of consent from a Catholic priest, Father Jacques Philippe, uh, he talks about consenting to what we do not choose. 

And, um, gosh, that's very hard to do, um, and I, maybe I'll, I'll say, I'll say this, um, maybe just kind of dive in a little bit more vulnerably, but, you know, one of the things that I had to consent to in the past couple of years is, uh, the work of working through some complex trauma from my childhood that I didn't know existed. And so, like, this would be an example of. The work I've done in counseling is like I had to get to the point where I was able to accept the fact that, man, there's some things at work inside of me that, um, that I didn't cause and that I didn't choose, but in order for me to actually work through them and allow God to heal them, I have to consent to the fact that this is just true of me, that I've got, um, some anxiety popping up in me, um, and that that anxiety is, is rooted in sort of complex trauma that, um, That was way out of my control. So I could resist doing that work. I could resist admitting that there's trauma, but that's not going to do me any good. And so 

[00:13:41] Cyd: Or you could resist naming that there's anxiety because of the trauma. 

[00:13:45] Jared: exactly, yeah, it's exactly right. Like was, and there was a part of me, um, that for a while didn't want to just admit that I was anxious. Um, because it was new, it, it, uh, you know, some circumstances in my life, it's almost like the heat of that anxiety got turned up 

[00:14:02] Cyd: Yeah. 

[00:14:03] Jared: and, um, it just took me a little while to just be able to say that, yeah, this is true and this is what's 

[00:14:09] Geoff: hmm. 

[00:14:10] Jared: And so I consent God to whatever work that you would want to do inside of me. Um, and then there's some practices that I had to take on in order to do work, which I talk a little bit about 

[00:14:21] Cyd: Yeah. Which also, you know, and just going back to Jacques Philippe, by the way, if for any of our listeners, if you haven't read Interior Freedom, it's a small little book, but it is so packed with good stuff. This has been a revolutionary idea for me too, you know, reading it at your recommendation or I got introduced to it through the order. 

Um, but you're talking about the resisting, which is one of the responses that he names to things that are outside of our control. And then he often talks about how you resist for a long time and then you finally like realize you can't fight it. So then the next response that sometimes comes is to just give up, to resign. 

And so. When you're talking about how you had to deal with the anxiety, it could have been, you know, you could have come to the point of like, okay, I can recognize that there's anxiety there. I can recognize that I didn't have any say in this trauma that happened to me. And now it just is what it is. And I'm stuck with this anxiety for the rest of my life. 

And that would have been the resignation.  

[00:15:19] Jared: That's 

[00:15:19] Cyd: So, can you say just a little bit more about how you moved into consent versus resignation, if you're willing?  

[00:15:29] Jared: Yeah, absolutely. It's a great, um, you know, at the end of the day, one of the questions, you know, that I think about as a pastor and as a spiritual director is a question, something like this, um, are we really convinced that God is in fact using everything for our good and his purposes? And, um, you know, that, that unfortunately has been thrown around as a bit of a trite saying in the, uh, evangelical world, you know, you know, God will use this for good. 

And that's not a very comforting thing. And, but when you're faced with something that, um, you know, you wish didn't happen, then you, like the consenting part is to actually have the faith to believe that God, I know that you did not cause this to happen to me, but I trust that you are going to work in and through this. thing that did happen to me, and I will participate and partner with you in whatever way in which you would like for me to. That's, like, freedom. To not have to, like, be, um, thought of as a certain way, or to not have to continue to think of one's self as a certain way, because if you'd asked me ten years ago, you know, Jared, are you an anxious person, I would have said no, and I would have taken offense at the idea. 

You know, because I, you know, took some sort of pride in being this like calm, calming presence in the room. And then, you know, things happen in your life. And then if you had asked me like, yesterday, are you an anxious person? And I would have been, and I would have said, yeah, I am. I am really struggling through some anxiety in the season of life that I'm in. 

Um, but wow, I'm really meeting God in that, you know, so it's a, it's a very different framework, but. One in which is full of God's grace. 

[00:17:19] Cyd: Yeah, and it's so hopeful. I mean, it's, it's, uh, it's just, there's a lot of hope and, and forward movement there in the sense that you're anchoring your hope. In the God who does not fail, even when the world around you is full of signs that there is nothing that can come out of this, um, it also just makes me think, you know, we've talked about, like, um, you know, back to the nervous system, because this is a neuroscience informed spiritual formation. 

Um, just thinking about those movements of resistance, resignation and consent, you know, if we think of that, almost if we map that on top of what goes on in our nervous systems, right? That resistance is the fight against. Uh, when the sympathetic nervous system is taking active action and saying, I won't allow this. 

I'm going to fight against it. That's the resistance. And then the resignation could be the, like, I give up, like I collapse, you know, and anybody who's familiar with polyvagal theory, that's more of like a dorsal risk, like a dorsal response of like, I'm paralyzed, I'm frozen, there's nothing I can do here. 

But that consent choice is the connected. Like, it's the, it's the choice of, I choose to connect to the God who is with me even in this, trusting that this relationship will sustain me and that he is for me and not against me. And that even this. Can be something that he can redeem and turn into a beautiful thing because that's what he's in the business of doing. 

[00:18:50] Geoff: Mm hmm. 

[00:18:51] Jared: That's exactly right. 

[00:18:52] Cyd: Yeah. 

[00:18:53] Geoff: I love that. And just to make it, like, practical, like, Um, we can kind of, uh, consent to all sorts of things in our life, right? So, um, it could be like family of origin trauma that comes up later. It could be a health crisis that's prolonged for a couple of years. Uh, it could be your partner walking up and leaving in your marriage, right. 

Or getting fired from a job, right? These aren't things you're choosing, but there are things that are part of your life and your story. And so how is it that you can find God's grace and presence in the midst of all those things? And that, in a sense, it is. It is a type of choice. Uh, it's a, it's a choosing to consent, right? 

So there's still some agency in how you posture yourself and open yourself to God's work. Um, it's not purely passive. Um, so that was kind of like the first one circumstantial, but, and if we could just burrow in maybe on this anxiety questions, you didn't. Just wake up one day and be like, Hey, I'm more anxious than I thought. 

Right. You probably you're living in the constraints of a community. And I, which is one of these other ones, uh, discernment and community, as well as practicing faults and affirmations. Could you kind of talk a little bit about those other constraints that, that, um, you know, we choose or no, that's the ones that we don't choose. 

Right. Those are the ones that we consent to. Could you, uh, kind of show how those kind of work in with it? 

[00:20:13] Jared: Yeah. So some of the consenting work, um, is that what you're asking? 

[00:20:17] Geoff: The other two, the, 

[00:20:18] Jared: consenting ones 

[00:20:19] Geoff: community as well as the faults and affirmations, how we discern and, uh, the constraints of what is true, 

[00:20:26] Jared: Yeah. Yeah. So the, the constraints of, of consent are the constraints of formational healing. Um, and that is the consenting to the constraint of, of one's own story. So that's kind of what we were talking about with some of that anxiety, like in order for me to do, um, I had to consent to what actually happened in my own story. Um, the constraint of, of, uh, or the practice of faults and affirmations, which I could go into detail in is consenting to, to the constraint of what is true. And so the practice of faults and affirmations is something that we do in community. So we've done it around our table as a family. Um, less so now that the girls are teenagers and. 

Um, uh, but but when they were younger, you know, maybe once a week we would practice faults and affirmations. And what that looked like was simply around the dinner table. Um, everyone who wanted to would have an opportunity to say a fault out loud a way in which you showed up this week. misaligned to who God's creating you to be. 

Um, you know, so, you know, I would say something like, um, I, I have a fault. I, I spoke unkindly to all of you yesterday. Please forgive me for that, you know, and just to create an opportunity for basic confession and community. And then the affirmation side of that is, is affirming the good that you see in another. 

Um, and it could be something spiritual. It could be something very practical, but this is around consenting to the It's about consenting to what is true, what is true about me and what is true about you. And so what is true about me is that there are both, um, really wonderful things that work inside of me and there are really hard things that still come out of me. 

So it's like that weeds among the wheat concept that Jesus talks about. Um, and then what's true about you is that there are really wonderful things that God is doing, um, in your life and that we could be in community and name those, um, And it's an encouraging 

[00:22:34] Geoff: Yeah. 

[00:22:35] Jared: when you're with people and you're able to name out loud the good 

[00:22:39] Geoff: And I love that practice because it does the exact opposite of what we're normally wired to do. I'm normally wired, uh, and communities are wired to affirm who we 

[00:22:50] Jared: That's right. 

[00:22:50] Geoff: As we believe ourselves to be and criticize others for their faults. So I want to affirm myself and, or my in group community, and I want to find faults in others or the whole out group community, but rather, you know, the whole Christian, you know, life, the life with Jesus is to kind of, you know, flip that around, which is, Hey, why don't you, you know, in God's guidance and under God's grace, like named people. 

The faults that you have, uh, and let's go out of our way to find appreciation and things in others. And that's really great in a family and a community too, because a lot of times people don't, they don't always see or appreciate themselves and how they bring the good things that they bring a community. 

Right. Cause we can also be very self critical. Uh, and so to have other people name those things, it's just so healing. And so, um, and it bonds us. It's so beautiful.  

[00:23:39] Cyd: Yeah, and it builds joy together, right? It builds gladness to be with one another. 

[00:23:44] Jared: that's exactly right. And the other formational work, uh, that this builds, which, which I, you know, go into great detail throughout the book is, um, being able to name a fault about oneself and being able to name an affirmation, something good that you see in others. Both of those practices require humility. 

And humility, I think, is the foundational work of spiritual formation because it's in humility where we begin to recognize the love of God and the love of others, which is the love of God through others. And so, um, at the end of the day, most of the spiritual disciplines are meant to cultivate humility. 

And this is a big, a big theme that runs throughout the book as well, and a theme that runs throughout our work with the Order of the 

[00:24:32] Cyd: Mm hmm. 

[00:24:32] Geoff: Well, can we just spend a little bit of time on that last one then, before we move to the other section, the discernment in community? What does it mean to choose or consent to the constraints of community? 

[00:24:44] Jared: Yeah, it's the constraints of one another. I mean, um, this, this has come out of me watching people, as a spiritual director and as a pastor, there's, um, I've just watched for more than a decade now, people make giant life decisions by themselves. And, um, You know, maybe sometimes that's appropriate, but I think if we're going to really cultivate what it means to be a Christian community, we have to have an imagination for letting others speak into the things of our life. Particularly because we can't always see all of the ins and outs of what we need to be able to see, and our decisions do impact other people. And so like, you know, you're just, if you guys were ever to decide to move, which I know you, you recently have moved in the past, like, 

[00:25:37] Cyd: Yes, a little more than five years ago. Yeah,  

[00:25:40] Jared: Um, that decision impacted the people that you had built a life with in Chicago land area. It impacted the life of your kids. Um, and I'm, because I know you guys, I just know you didn't do that decision by 

[00:25:54] Cyd: no way. Yeah, no way.  

[00:25:57] Jared: if you do it with other people, if you just bring other people in and you give people permission to speak into Your life and to say here is best as I can tell is what I think God is doing in my life But I welcome your input and I would love for you to speak about what you see God doing in my life Then if you walk through this process and you make a very hard decision there's a confidence that comes with that that 

[00:26:23] Geoff: Mm 

[00:26:24] Jared: when things get hard like other people saw this thing in me and so Increasingly I'm wanting to think about Where do I not want people in my business? And that's probably where they should be in my business. So whether it be in my finances or in my schedule, so like I've recently submitted a good portion of how I build my schedule for the year, uh, to other people, you know, whether it be how many speaking engagements I take or how many conferences I do, um, because there's something inside of me that could just. 

Layer that stuff for infinity. Um, and so like I want to bring that under the scrutiny of other people who might, who might see a good that I can't see. 

[00:27:12] Geoff: Yeah, that's so great. Mm hmm. 

[00:27:15] Jared: then there's, there's freedom in that. Like there's freedom in allowing my life to be constrained by others because even if they are seeing it wrong, um, I can actually trust my life into God's hands. And if somebody says, yeah, Jared, I don't think you should say yes to taking that speaking engagement. Um, even if I think I really should, there's actually a real joy in me saying, Okay, that's fine, I'll trust God that he is, you know, whatever, 

[00:27:43] Geoff: uh, and that's a great point to kind of... Emphasize all throughout, um, cause some people definitely get on uneasy. Like I've survived spiritual abuse or I've exited abusive family systems that are very controlling and authoritarian. Uh, and so then to think again, like, Oh, this is just backdoor, you know, spiritual control again or something like that. 

Right. But rather we submit to one another in Christ as Ephesians five tells us, like in reverence. And we are following, you know, the crucified risen Lord, you know, who loves and serves us, um, with his entire life. And so we can trust God because. God has already walked that path of sacrifice and of love of others and of service of others. 

Um, and it follows the neuroscience, right? Like, you know, cause like we're always embedded in our relationships. So that's impossible to get out of. We can kind of pretend and we can minimize community, but you can't ever really step back from community and then step into community. All that really means is you're, you're, Switching communities without saying that or something like that. 

So we're always communally formed people. Um, And so just being conscious of that and kind of moving into that, um, is just, it's inevitable. It's so important. You 

[00:29:04] Cyd: an important distinction you made is that like you are choosing to surrender your life to the view of other people, right? You're allowing the people in your life to be witnesses to how you're organizing your time or to your finances or whatever it is. 

And you're doing that as a choice. You're not being forced into that. Right. No one is demanding to see that stuff and no one is demanding to have a say. And the people that you are surrounding yourself in community are people that you probably have some level of trust with already. Um, and you know, the being part of the order of the common life, you know, everybody's practicing the same commitments together, which builds a trust there, um, that we're all practicing these disciplines together. 

And you still have the freedom, even after you have heard from the people in your life and still say, I still really feel like God is calling me into this and they're not going to say, well, then we can't be in community with you anymore. 

[00:29:59] Jared: Right. Yeah, that's right. When we see this happen, you know, the apostle Paul, for example, there are times when the people around him are like, man, you cannot do that thing. Like, you know, you can't go that place. You're gonna, you're gonna end up in jail. 

[00:30:13] Geoff: to go. Yeah. Yep. 

[00:30:15] Jared: That's right. And then he's like, I hear you and I'm going. And so it's not that we are relegating the responsibility of our life, but there's a practice Of allowing people to speak into it, and that's just more data, um, that, you know, we discern together what the Spirit is doing among us. And so, obviously we don't do that, like, should I take my wife out to dinner tonight? 

I mean, I don't need a discerning group of people around me, uh, to tell me that. But, I just think there are, there are some larger things in our life around vocation, around our finances. Around, like, how we spend our money, you know, like, um, around the kinds of jobs that we take, around the responsibilities that we take on, that I think a community that loves us should be speaking into that 

[00:31:06] Geoff: Amen. Well, and you, um, spend quite a bit of time. So we're actually covering the last part of the book. And, you know, partly because, um, this is not as familiar when people talk about spiritual disciplines. Um, So just so everybody knows, if you go out and get the book, uh, which you should, uh, you know, you spend some time talking about the practices of, of constraints that we choose, which are more of what people are familiar with, like practices of silence and solitude, also of simplicity and how we attend to things, uh, and then also marriage and celibacy. 

And so those are some of the things that people are like, Oh yeah, that's like usually what I think of. Like I'm fasting, I'm praying, I have this kind of structured life, rule of life, um, kind of stuff. But I think. Yeah. Um, and so I was just thinking about this, like this idea of that freedom comes through constraint is really just another way of saying we're not God ultimately. 

And we're most free when we remember that. Um, is, is that, is that a right way to boil it down? Would you prefer it wasn't summarized that way? Is that just a Jeff way? 

[00:32:10] Jared: mean, I, I love your Jeff way of summarizing that. I think, I think in the end it's, it's, um, you know, the constraints that we choose and the consent to the constraints that we consent to. It's doing the work of getting us in touch with, uh, our humility and how much we need God. And that's the place that we find... our experience of the love of God. And so part of the first third of the book is describing really the history of, uh, what has been called asceticism. You know, you think about, um, you know, the desert fathers and mothers, the fasting, these ascetic training things is, is from the Greek word ascesis, which means to train. 

It's just this idea that we can train our bodies and our minds and our spirits towards attentiveness to what God is doing. And It's my thought that, that this whole tradition of monasticism and religious orders at the center of it is a deep, deep commitment to attentiveness. To the presence of God in the life of the human soul, which is always sort of expressed as the love of God. 

And so I, I really want, you know, when people tell me, what is this book about? What I really want to say is this book's about the love of God, um, which is never ending, always present to you. But we have so much in the way where, where it's blocking our attentiveness to the way in which God is loving us and the disciplines. 

are about clearing the path of our, of our line of sight so that we can see the way that God is loving us. 

[00:33:52] Cyd: I love that. I love that. That's the way you talk about the book. It's 

[00:33:55] Geoff: So that training is, um, it's like gymnasts and athletes, like when we think about the training and, and so just to kind of wrap it up, like I, the way, uh, you know, I really appreciate how earlier in the book you were talking about, well, what is freedom and, uh, the way I would just summarize it is, you know, in the modern West, we have this idea that freedom means I get to choose, um, which is not wrong. 

It's just not enough. Right. And so I think. Yeah. Really spiritual formation. The way of Christ being a disciple follow, however you want to call it is to be free to love. It's not to be free to choose. And so we're actually slaves of love. If we even want to turn it all the way around that way. And so, um, this book is all about training, like what are the different ways that we can train and into God's love? 

So. Thank you so much for your commitment to, uh, going through the work of, um, writing, uh, where can people kind of connect with you or follow the work you're doing, 

[00:34:55] Jared: Yeah, so my website, um, which is not spectacular at all, uh, is just jaredpatripoid. com, um, but it'll give you a little overview of, uh, the work I'm doing, uh, has a link out to my first book, which is called Imaginative Prayer, which is a year long guide to your child's spiritual formation. And then, of course, you can link out there, uh, to the work with The Order of the Common Life, uh, or that website's just The Order of the Common Life. 

Orderofthecommonlife. org, and you can take a look at how we are recontextualizing, uh, what it means to, to have a religious vocation. 

[00:35:33] Geoff: thank you for all you're doing for everyone who's listening. Please like and subscribe on YouTube. Share this, find this on Spotify, Embodied Faith Podcast. And Jared, well, I know we'll all be hanging out in various places, but hopefully we'll have you on again sometime soon. 

[00:35:49] Jared: I would love it. Thanks, guys. Really appreciate the work you're doing.