Sunday, October 26, 2014

...and they fed us with spiritual food!  Eating Ethiopian near Emory University.  
Yesterday along with the Canterbury Club from Middle Georgia State College, I visited the Wat Lao Buddhist Temple in Atlanta.  My intention as advisor to the club was to promote listening as a path to spirituality.  I like the “Columban” (St. Colm Cille) posture promoted by our Bishop in Savannah, that of working or walking side-by-side, shoulders rubbing, rather than standing face-to-face to engage in a “let me tell you”.   Answering questions is more suitable to me than a mission to “tell”; if asked a question it seems OK to attempt to make an answer.  The barrier to spirituality might be this, that some people seek out opportunities for telling a lot about their religion, as if they have one, including a message about its “rightness”, and thereby leave no time for listening.  It occurs to me that such attempts at telling a lot end up telling very little.  It is a dry crust, a brittle shell.  The wet kernel is never touched.  Eventually, it is absent altogether.  Telling the told answer to a math problem is not the same as knowing how to arrive at the answer oneself.  Process trumps product.  An a priori eagerness for telling or preaching leaves little time for questioning or thinking.  Here today we looked at the model of a boat in front of the Wat Lao Temple and learning about the Buddhist concept of “the journey”.  Involving thinking about Buddhist teachings.  Meditation, letting go, centering.  If preaching is a political act, and I think it is, then listening might be a spiritual one.  So we did some of that today, and talked a lot about it over coffee later in the afternoon.   So everyone took a bit of a ‘journey” today.  And a long step toward authenticity.   And had a good day.

Well, I thought I thought I might chance to find a ‘jumping off point’ that worked for me here, at the Cathedral. I was looking for the original of the Canterbury Cross and some context for it.  I found it, and some context, at the City of Canterbury Museum.  And I found some time for quiet reflection at St Dunstan’s imagining Henry II’s penance for the murder of Thomas Beckett over at the Cathedral.  And St. Thomas More’s head is here, I should note.  Tangible evidence of things said to have happened.  And then I was on my way.  After a long time without a firm step, bent-kneed momentum down a path, but only years it seems with disturbed circles of dirt and sand around my feet, I sense movement in a direction that leads obscurely to the meadow of the green man in spring, with the statue of marble and gold.  A vale of truth and discovery.  But it is the journey, not the destination, really.

Monday, June 16, 2014

This blog is devoted to my learning the ins and outs of Celtic Christianity in its various places in Ireland and Scotland, Wales, England, and Continental Europe and to finding out especially what one might gleen, recall, contextualize—and build on—from that past.  I expect some spiritual insights, an alternative point of view, an existential revelation, or at least a glimpse of a different cultural world view.  

I assume that the work of the Celtic Church, the labors of those monks our ancestors, has been to some significant degree obfuscated, marginalized or treated anachronistically. It may be.  If the book about them can be "dusted off," then we can gain a fuller, truer record of the past, the states of our souls and also, perhaps, the "souls" of our States.  So it is a spiritual and also secular and ideological quest.  I can learn from the "unaltered" history, and also from the history of that alteration.  I hope to say at some point, "isn't THAT interesting."  I hope that it will modify my assumptions about the world and my place in it.  That particular way that we are "slotted in."  So this is my gesture, my faint, my essai, my mode de résistance, and my chosen point of access.  Ma courir au but par les défenseurs.  Well, they say the truth will set you free!

I look forward to visiting Canterbury this summer, so I hope that will lead to another blog post soon!