C.S. Lewis Institute: A Fellow’s Journey - page 1

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From the Summer 2014 issue of Knowing & Doing:  


C.S. Lewis Institute: A Fellow’s Journey

Interview with Colleen O’Malley
C.S. Lewis Institute Mentor & Fellow


ell us how and when you came to Christ.
  Praise the Lord that I get to say: I have never known a time without Christ. I love my parents for a lot of things, but first and foremost for that. We were always encouraged to prayer, Bible study, and theological musings around the dinner table. (I promise it was more fun than I just made it sound.) Their faith was probably confirmed as my own through service with a high school retreat organization called Chrysalis and involvement with Young Life.

How did the C.S. Lewis Institute’s Fellows Program equip you to become a more mature and effective disciple of Christ?
  Two words: discipline and prayer. It’s just not fun to show up to small group unprepared to discuss the readings with those amazing women! And so I must read. A few of the books were old favorites, but the writers’ wisdom seemed all the more targeted to me during this time of actively seeking the Lord, most especially as they focused toward a new discipline of prayer.   

Give an example of how the Fellows Program helped you in your life as a follower of Jesus.
  So I pray in the morning now. In the past I’ve read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s strong suggestion to do so and wished to be more like him. But once I started the program, I found that throughout the day I was suddenly (or had I just never noticed before?) being asked questions about my faith. For me, starting the day in prayer was key to resting in the knowledge that any answer I’d give was cloaked in the Holy Spirit—and maybe a little caffeine. In fact, Spirit-filled answers are really a very happy by-product, as the time spent with the Lord in prayer has become less a discipline I strive to practice and more a conversation I treasure.   

How has your experience with the Institute influenced your approach to sharing the gospel message with others?
  I think I’m just looking more closely for the opportunity to share. I’ve found that most people are pretty open to talking about their own experiences with faith, which then opens the door for us to do the same. If someone tells me she meditates and prays while practicing yoga, I ask who she’s praying to. If another claims an experience was “almost spiritual,” I ask what that means to him. The knowledge strengthened through the Institute most certainly provides context and confidence around those discussions, but the discipline of prayer nurtured through my mentor relationship and times with those small-group ladies remains the foundation. 

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