Thursday, September 5, 2013


Stan follows his karate teacher's instruction.
The word discipline has been on my mind a lot this week. I have a class on interdisciplinary studies, and I’m reading a book on transdisciplinarity. It’s been one of those weeks where the words pops up a hundred times in a dozen different ways. Of course, normally when I hear the word discipline, it’s in a church setting: self-discipline, disciple. So I’ve been thinking about the connection between the academic disciplines and spiritual disciplines.

The word comes for the Latin disciplina, meaning instruction and training. Both in the academic and spiritual meaning, disciplines maintain order. In education, disciplines divide knowledge into subjects. In religion, discipline trains people in the right ways to act. It can be imposed by others (rules, punishment) or it can be imposed by self. Self-discipline means taking up the responsibility of training. You work at establishing productive practices and resisting temptations. You actively work on your relationship with Christ.

Being a disciple means being a follower and a student. You submit to a leader or school of thought. You receive instruction, and you train to become stronger in the subject and a better representation of that instruction. Being a disciple is a very active position. You’re constantly trying to better yourself, please your leader, and be the best representation of the group that you can be. There is no epiphany this week about reconciling academic disciplines and being a disciple of Christ, only the recognition that I always could (and should!) work on my self-discipline. It's nice being reminded of that from multiple directions.

No comments:

Post a Comment