About the Regnare Project
Hi, I’m Jason R. E. Campbell, the lead editor and author here at the Regnare Project.
I write about the good life.
I’m not sure what that conjures up in your mind, but I’m talking about the good life, the kind of life filled with all the things that almost all of us want deep down. I’m talking about a life where:
- we are becoming the people we long to be,
- we have the energy, resilience, and rock-solid, unshakable peace to weather anything that comes our way,
- we belong to something greater than ourselves,
- we belong among people whom we love deeply and who love and treasure us,
- we spend our energy on things that matter—things that stand the test of time,
- we understand what we were made to do and get to actually do it,
- we treasure and experience the beauty and wonder of the world,
- we are a living part of a richly textured culture and tradition that inspires and animates us,
- our influence and contribution matter and make others’ lives better just as their contribution does for us,
- we see the fruit of our imagination take on real form, our creations going out into the world with a life of their own
Specifically, I write about ways of ordering the small details of our lives—daily rhythms, habits of mind, routines and practices—to lead us a little bit at a time toward the good life.
These rhythms, habits, and practices are called disciplines. Most people think of discipline as burdensome, onerous—something we do when we’re not doing what we want. That’s a shame, because if disciplines are undertaken with the right mindset, nurtured among the right people, and applied wisely toward the right goals, they lead to a more peaceful, centered life, a life so brimming with joy that we come to walk lightly in our world, free of anxiety, with a certain attitude of playfulness and trust reminiscent of little children.
Not because we ignore or downplay the real difficulties of our world, but because the disciplines keep us grounded in what is true, good, and beautiful, such that our lives never wander far from our true purpose.
These disciplines meet the accumulated dirt of poor habits, harmful patterns of thinking, and unexamined assumptions about the way things are, and wash them away like a cleansing rain. The disciplines clear our eyes and freshen the air we breathe, putting us in touch with a new and better way of life—the truly good life—that thrives and flourishes wherever we are. And as this new life emerges in us like a wellspring of clear, cool water, it overflows into the lives of the people with whom we live and work—and thereby, the world is changed.
The disciplines I’m talking about are not new. They are actually quite old, having been used profitably by people across many different cultures for thousands of years. These are merely the rhythms and practices of Christian spiritual formation, paths that take us by little steps into the life for which each of us was made.
It may come as a surprise that Jesus was very concerned with what we would call the good life. But every aspect of his life and work revolved around opening up the way for people to live the truly good life—not in some future version of the world to come, but beginning now in the midst of whatever life we are already living. His coming represented the in-breaking of a new way to live, under the direction and power of something he called the kingdom (or reign) of God. According to Jesus, whoever received and entered this reign would be truly alive, brimming with peace, at play in God’s wide world, finding purpose and meaning with each act of love.
The word regnare means to reign; our project is to (re)discover ways of living that reshape our imagination, habits, and practices such that we can better see this reign of God and better follow him into what he is doing around us, moment by moment, in the middle of our everyday life.
Does that sound difficult? Jesus says that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. The more we learn from him and actually do what he says, we’ll find Jesus knows how to truly live—to remain in touch with the source of life at all times (God himself) and to get involved with what God is doing to create and cultivate lasting good from the raw stuff that makes up our daily life.
This is the kind of life Jesus led. And he is still at work, teaching others the way to this very good life.
The disciplines are one way we put his teachings into practice. On this blog, you’ll find ways to make the teachings of Jesus a part of your daily life. Our intention is never to add more burdens to an already crowded life, but rather to open the door to peace, play, and purpose a little at a time, so that as each day passes, your life thrives within the vast, glorious expanse of the kingdom of God.
I wasn’t always so sweet on the idea of discipline. I thought that the good life was doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to do it. I grew up pretty self-absorbed: shirking chores, glued to the latest video game, book, or movie, somehow managing to get half-decent grades without really applying myself. I never had a real job until after six years of a four-year college degree. But somewhere along the way, I started paying attention to the lessons my parents had tried to teach me, to the traditions handed down by my hard-working grandparents, and to the God that had been pursuing me long before I paid any attention to him at all.
I got a taste of the truly good life among a fellowship of Christians in whom I saw glimpses of what living the good life looked like. My sense of what was possible began to change. I began to see the beautiful mysteries of life that had always been right in front of my face. I started to think about what kind of life I was being called to live and what it would take to obey that call. The call I was starting to hear was not to the foreign mission field or to full time ministry, but rather to a full apprenticeship to Jesus right the midst of my ordinary home-and-work-and-play life.
Little by little, I began to grasp what Jesus was talking about when he referred to the reign of God. And the more I learned, the more I realized how ill-prepared I was to actually put into practice the way of life Jesus talked about. That’s when wise teachers in the church began to point me toward the disciplines. I discovered a world of teaching long treasured by the church, breadcrumbs left by those who had taken Jesus at his word and had lived under the peace, play, and purpose of God’s reign.
Early on, in my zeal for this practical wisdom, I would upend my life completely, trying everything at once, impatiently wanting all aspects of the good life now. This would predictably end with exhaustion and discouragement with only little incremental changes to show for it. I learned that the good life grows naturally out of small changes repeated over time. I learned that these small changes could be built upon, so that in retrospect I could see real difference where it mattered most—in the deep places of my heart, in the things I loved and desired, in the quality of my relationships, in my willingness to serve, in the real impact I had on the people around me. Here was the reign of God breaking out in my midst.
These days I am living near Portland, Oregon with my amazing wife and two beautiful girls. For my “day job”, I work as a digital analytics consultant for a wide range of clients all over the United States. While raising these girls, my wife and I, along with a small group of other Christians, are seeking this sometimes-elusive reign of God that is at work around us all the time. We are determined to hear the voice of God over the confusing noise of our current culture, to learn from Jesus how to love the people in our world well, and to order our lives toward the good life.
If this sort of thing interests you, then you’re invited into the conversation. The first thing to do is to subscribe to our newsletter (and our Facebook or Twitter feeds if that’s your thing), and that will make sure you don’t miss out on anything.
Then, dig a little deeper into what Regnare means and what it has to do with us.