Three Core Principles
The three core principles which we form and shape our lives around at Abbey Way are stability, transformation and obedience.
Stability in God—Willing to Live Centered
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” (Ephesians 3:16-18)
Stability creates an environment to grow and mature, rooting us deeply within and without, through endurance and perseverance, first in our relationship with God and then with a particular community and location.
God desires to inhabit people that bring God's light and love to the world. Stability through God calls us to a committed way of life with a certain group of people for the long haul. Stability in monastic tradition would also add the willingness to be grounded in a geographic location from which mission and ministry is birthed. From a place of deep listening to God and connection to the people around them, the community’s charism and calling is discovered.
In particular, stability requires a interior stay with-it-ness when external or internal forces toss us about, making us want to flee.
The principle of stability is deeply rooted in God’s faithfulness to us. It is promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” It is in this promise of God with us through His constant abiding presence we are able to commit ourselves to each other in God.
Abbey Way claims this principle of stability as its own. Antidotal to non-committal and individualistic forms of church attendance, stability names the real work of creating a community that is able to reflect the glory of Christ. As Abbey Way embraces stability as one of our core principals, we hope to create a consistent and accessible embodiment of the Gospel, enabling others to find Jesus and experience new life in Christ.
Transformation through God—Willing to Change (Conversatio Morum)
“For I am crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives within me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Together we share a commitment to continued growth and change: to faithfully as individuals and a community answer Christ’s call to “come and follow.”
Conversatio morum calls us to a life time of transformation. It admits as a people of God we are on the journey of continual conversion—turning and returning to God, dying and rising with Christ—until the end of our life here on earth.
Esther de Waal describes conversatio this way: “…conversatio is a recognition of God’s unpredictability, which confronts our own love of coziness or safety. It means we need to live provisionally, ready to respond to the new whenever and however that might appear. There is no security here, no clinging to the past certainties. Rather we must expect to see our chosen idols successively broken. It means a constant letting go…..a commitment to a total inner transformation of one sort or other.”
Conversatio morum coupled with the principle of stability, create a dynamic duo of Kingdom potential. When growth and change in Christ is embraced as a way of life, the possibility of long term internal and external impact increases.
Conversatio morum invites us to on-going responsiveness to God and the people who God has named as companions on the journey. It names the church as tangible manifestation in which Christ’s life can grow, creating a trustworthy container to be one’s self, both in weakness and strength, and experience God’s grace and truth.
Obedience to God—Willing to Listen and Respond
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
The heart of obedience is the word listen. We choose as individuals and as a church, to listen to God, willing to submit ourselves in humility to the teaching of Scripture and the values and practices of our church community, then responding to what we hear with open hearts. At Abbey Way we desire to create a prayerful listening environment, so we can together discern God’s voice and direction in order that we become more and more faithful followers of Jesus. As the Psalmist and the writer of Hebrews implore us, “Today if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
The principle of obedience helps hold our intentions to the Gospel and the One we profess to truly love. We choose to practice “listening” and responding to the “still, small voice” as heard in prayer, spiritual direction and conversation. It is from this on-going practice we make our choices and decisions. With Scripture as our foundation, we choose to hold in common the principle of obedience--listening and responding to God--as we daily choose to follow Jesus. In each season, we learn afresh and anew what it means to respond faithfullyobediently to God.