Encouragement for the Journey
Greetings Fellow Traveller,
This week a long awaited parcel arrived, it was a parcel of books I posted while I was in the UK in February. I was quite pleased they arrived safely, now I can commence my study leave report. Opening the parcel I took time to flick through each book and saw my underlining’s and notes I had scrawled during my study leave. For this week’s encouragement I want to offer you a sampler of what I have read and discovered. I will not comment on them, rather I let you savour them for yourself.
Firstly from: ‘Spiritual Awakening – A Guide to Spiritual life in congregations’ by John Ackerman:
There is a big difference between saying the words and the underlying meaning or attitude. David Steindl – Rast, a Benedictine monk known worldwide for his wisdom says:
“We must distinguish prayer from prayerfulness …. Prayerfulness is an attitude of the heart ….There is no human heart that does not pray, at least in deep dreams that nourish life with meaning. Moments in which we drink deeply from the source of meaning are moments of prayer, whether we call them so or not.”
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Soon after I arrived at Sarum College, I found a book with a delightful title: ‘To a Dancing God’ by Sam Keen in their second hand bookshop. I already have a few of Sam’s books and I could not resist this one. In reading this quote, please note this book was first published in 1970:
“It is difficult to avoid the impression that Western Culture has formed a conspiracy against silence. Words and noise are everywhere. Our education is dominantly verbal, conceptual and dialectic. We read, or listen, or watch, in order to be entertained. The verbal diarrhoea of disc jockeys pours from the omnipresent transistor into the waiting ear of millions. Chatter fills every corner into which silence might creep. Even what we call thinking is most often a highly refined form of inner conversation……. Thus we avoid silence in order to preserve the illusion that we live in a world we control and to avoid confronting out of fear of being out of control.”
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My final one for this week’s journey is from a book by John Drane ‘The McDonaldization of the Church – Spirituality, Creativity and the Future of the Church’. The following is from a section on Community and Mystery:
“People are desperately searching for a place where they can belong and be valued. In a world of dysfunctional relationships, in which people are hurting and constantly being put down, either by other individuals or by the more impersonal operations of the system in general, for the majority the entry point to anything that might be regarded as ‘fullness of life (John 10:10) will begin and end when they find a safe space where they can be themselves and be affirmed and lifted up in the struggle to be human. …..They are going to be far more likely to judge the authenticity of the Church by experiencing community and the mystery first, and then reflecting on what they have experienced. In missiological terms, a key theological question will then be: what do people experience when they engage with the church?”
From the above, I hope you have caught a little glimpse of what both challenged and encouraged me on my study leave.
I am curious, while you read and reflected on these quotes, what questions, thoughts and ideas resonated within you? Would you be willing to share them with another person and / or with me?