The Book of Common Practice:
A manual for discerning, deciding and writing a set of guiding principles for your life (A Rule of Life)
Written by the Reverend Canon Charles LaFond © 2013
Web-based read-a-long for St. David’s Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas and others interested in a read-along manuscript on Rule of Life
How this read-along will work…
This book has been announced on www.charleslafond.net under the “Books” section and will be offered on line throughout the spring at www.charleslafond.com by sub-chapter in a series of regular blog submissions every day or so. Every week or two, the almost daily sub-chapters will have taken the reader through one chapter. At the end of each chapter, there will be a series of chapter appendices which may include:
1. Samples of the author’s Rule of Life
2. model documents for discernment
3. support materials by topic for those writing a Rule of Life
4. discernment questions for those writing a Rule of Life
5. group discussion questions about the process
6. group discussion questions about discernment of Rule chapters
When a full chapter with 6-10 sub-chapters each has been placed on line in a series of daily blogs the chapter appendices will be posted and then, a few days later the entire collection for that chapter will be removed from the on-line blog availability and a new set of sub-chapters will begin for the next chapter, again, ending with the appendices. The read-along means that readers may go back through the blog to see earlier submissions of sub-chapters but will not be able to see previous chapters (which will go into re-write for manuscript publication.
As on-line “read-along readers” (you!) read and work with the daily sub-chapters and chapters, it is the author’s hope that feed-back on the web site and on Facebook about read-along reader’s suggested changes, additions, deletions or re-working will be submitted in the comments section as a way for the author to refine the manuscript.
The working (draft) list of chapters will include some of the following and will unfold as the book is being written:
Chapter 1: What is a Rule of Life?
Chapter 2: The monastic roots of a Rule of life and their differing Rules
Chapter 3: Why use a Rule of Life?
Chapter 4: The freedom of a Rule
Chapter 5: The move from the cloister to the kitchen – a Rule of Life for regular folk
Chapter 6: Discretio – Discernment and Discretion as a foundation for a Rule
Chapter 7: Defining the chapter titles of your Rule of Life
Chapter 8: Writing the chapters of your Rule of Life
Chapter 9: Dealing with resistance, accidie and writer’s block when writing your Rule
Chapter 10: Different forms of a Rule of Life: personal, family, leadership group
Chapter 11: How a Rule of Life forms a spiritual life: detachment, non-resistance, non-judgment
Chapter 12: The Rule of Life and the ego: having a Rule and not being insufferable about it
Chapter 13: Living with a Rule of Life which changes with life’s changes
Chapter 14: The rest of a family system and how they deal with your Rule of Life (without smacking you!)
Chapter 15: Rule of Life resources for the writer
Chapter One: What is a Rule of Life
Life by a thousand choices
Most of us, at one or more points in our life, look at some aspects of our life and wonder how we could possibly have found ourselves so content and focused or, conversely, so off track. And most of us, much of the time, fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum if we take the time to even ask such a question and then go the added mile of spending time considering the answer. As I look at the various parts of my life, the food I eat, the exercise I get, the way I handle money, the way I am in friendship or marriage, the things I do to nurture my inner life – how am I doing in these areas and others? Are they centered and healthy or do they need adjustment and of adjustment how much? Do I wait until a mid-life crisis or my deathbed to consider my life or can I find a way to establish how I hope to live and the find a way to be reminded of those hopes in a short enough time period that I can make adjustments and stay on course. This book offers one 2,000-year-old way to establish a hope for your life and live out that hope day-by-day.
This book is intended to offer a technology for use in establishing a hope for the spiritual and physical focus of one’s life and then keep that hope alive and on track. Life is made up of thousands of large and small choices. Some we make with great thought, input from our sages, prayerful consideration and intentionality while others seem to make themselves. But choices never ever make themselves. We make them. Even not making a choice is a choice. The choices we make can be life-giving, increasing the abundance of life or, occasionally, our choices can be ego-driven, narcissistic causing us and those around us great harm.