Lord, we know you are sovereign. We know you are in control, but sometimes this world can be overwhelming.

Sometimes this world makes me want to scream — makes me want to curl up and check out. Makes me want to cry. Makes me want to give up.

I often forget that everyone on earth – both good and evil – are made in the image of God. I want to demonize people that don’t agree with me. I want simple solutions to complex problems. I want to satisfy my desires before others.

I don’t want difficult conversations. I don’t want nuance. I don’t want to be humbled.

And yet you have commanded us to pursue our neighbors, family, and friends. You have called us to pursue justice. You have called us to advocate for the poor and oppressed.

Lord, give me the ears to hear and eyes to see the pain of other people. To give benefit of the doubt. To never tire of praying.

Amen.

Our framework begins with the foundational doctrine of the Imago Dei (Gen. 1:27) – that humans are unique and created in the image of God. This doctrine of respect and dignity permeates every step of Sunday to Saturday’s approach to learning about a topic.

When this doctrine is applied, it forces us into tension, which then requires nuance. This tension and nuance manifests itself in a both/and worldview as opposed to an either/or worldview. For example, you can be an advocate for the police and for police reform.

The framework consists of four stages/steps: pray, learn, pause, and engage.

These four stages are not fixed, and you will move back and forth from one stage to the other throughout your life. You may stay in one stage for months or even years.  At other times, it may be a blend of multiple stages.

The colors of each step are specifically chosen to correspond to liturgical colors. Pray and pause are purple — purple represents preparation. Learn and engage are green — green represents growth. Gold represents glory.

  1.  PRAY:  Each topic begins with a liturgical prayer that we find useful when engaging with that particular subject. When you pray, ask God to soften your heart and sharpen your mind.

    PRACTICES: Read the Bible | Journal | Listen to music | Go for a walk | Meditate | Read and write liturgical prayers

    GUIDING VERSE: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. — Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)

  2. LEARN:  Knowledge is power. We have already spent hundreds of hours curating content — use our guided learning paths and five questions as starting points on your journey.

    PRACTICES: Explore our guided learning paths | Read our five questions

    GUIDING VERSE: Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. — Proverbs 1:5 (NIV)

    Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. — Proverbs 19:20 (NIV)

  3. PAUSE: It is important to stop, pray, and reflect on what you have learned. Pausing should be done after each piece of media you consume, but it is also useful to stop every few weeks or months to take a break, rest, and reflect.

    PRACTICES: Pray | Journal | Talk with friends and family | Review notes | Pause input | Meditate

    GUIDING VERSE: Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. — Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. — Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

  4. ENGAGE:  When you feel ready, engage with neighbors, family, and friends. Do not rush into this step. Know that you are going to mess up. That doesn’t mean quitting; that means adjusting and probably moving back into steps 1-3 before moving back to step 4.

    PRACTICES: Cook a meal or treat for a neighbor | Pick up garbage in your neighborhood | Invite someone over for dinner | Get to know your child’s teacher/staff at the school personally | Listen to someone you disagree with | Get involved on a local government or school board

    GUIDING VERSES: Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. — James 1:22-25 (NIV)

    My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. — James 1:19 (NIV)

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