Thanks for listening in to the unSeminary podcast this week. Today Charles Stone, the lead pastor of WestPark Church in London, Ontario, is joining us again.
Charles describes London, Ontario as a melting pot of cultures and people from many different backgrounds. WestPark Church has about fifty different countries represented in the people attending, and four language congregations all a part of the church and meeting at the same time in different parts of the building.
Charles is with us today to talk about whether Christians should practice mindfulness and what that really means.
- Mindfulness is holy noticing. // Charles noticed a few years ago that there wasn’t much for the evangelical reader when it came to the topic of mindfulness. Most of what he came across in pop culture was derived from Buddhist practices. However “mindfulness” from the Christian perspective is rooted in scripture, Christian history and in the past several hundred years of the contemplative practice of learning to be still before God. So Charles defines Christian mindfulness as holy noticing, or noticing with a holy purpose, noticing God and His handiwork, noticing our relationships and thoughts and feelings.
- Jesus remained present in the moment. // Jesus is the example of what it means to live a life of mindfulness. He was busy, and people were constantly clamoring for His attention, but yet He remained present in the moment. He paid attention to each moment and the people there in front of Him, and He also had His times of being away and present with His Father on His own. We can live a busy lifestyle, but also be fully present to our Heavenly Father and to others.
- Intersecting spiritual truth with mindfulness. // While studying for his bible degree Charles has been busy with spiritual disciplines such as reading scripture, prayer, bible study, and scripture memory, but he found that he was still worried and anxious. He went on the search for the answers to what was going on inside of him and what he was missing. When he began practicing intersecting scriptural truth with what he was learning in neuroscience about mindfulness and leadership, it helped him to be more present with others and made him more aware of his emotions.
- Become a better thinker and leader. // A common misconception is that if you practice mindfulness you will lose the drive to set goals. Charles tells us that instead it makes us better thinkers and leaders so that the next hill we focus on climbing is what God wants us to climb; mindfulness aids in getting us to that next place.
- Holy Noticing in mindfulness. // Charles has written the book Holy Noticing: The Bible, Your Brain, and the Mindful Space Between Moments. The book provides a biblical foundation in the scriptures for mindfulness, as well as a chapter about different Christians in history who practiced mindfulness. The backbone of the book focuses on an acronym, BREATHe, which Charles uses as a framework to practice mindfulness and be present in the moment: Body, Relationships, Environment, Affect (another word for emotions), Thoughts, Heart, engage. The book provides tips on how to practice mindfulness using this acronym.
You can get the ebook Should Christians Practice Mindfulness by clicking here. Or learn more about Charles’ book, Holy Noticing, at www.holynoticing.com. Reach out to Charles at www.charlesstone.com and learn more about WestPark Church at their website: https://www.westparkchurch.ca/
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