Interesting Times

It’s been a very entertaining day today.  A day of face to face conversations at our Cafe this morning, especially with a lady with advanced dementia and her grand-daughter.  They come most weeks.  Grandmother appears mostly unaware of her surroundings, but today she was looking at me and smiled a few times.  She has the most beautiful blue eyes, and a wonderful smile, which I haven’t seen before.  When I laughed, she laughed too, and spoke.  I’m sorry that I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but she didn’t seem to mind.  Usually, she sings too, but not today.  I would love to understand a little of her world, but there was such joy in our shared laughter.  I hope that suffices for her – it was a gift for me.

And I’ve been trying to write a sermon to preach on the anniversary of 9/11.  Not easy.  I will post it on Sunday, but now it is a work in progress.  I’m getting tied up in knots about what happens where your life is blown apart by the death of someone you love, and you are unable to move beyond that point.  Linda Mercadante calls it “Anguish”(Constructive Theology, 2005, Augsburg Fortress, pp143-147) – where one is paralysed by being sinned against – by being a victim. She speaks of victims internalizing the evil perpetrated against them, and the recognition of this being the first step to moving on. This needs a lot more thought – I came across her ideas about four years ago, and think there is something about self awareness here – being locked into being a victim brings its own kind of guilt.

I’ve also spent a lot of time lurking on Twitter, where I have been lucky enough to encounter some people who are thinking at the more academic level about the future of church (?The Church?).  They are debating the idea that lots of people have grown up with alternative worship, and are now seeking something a little different.  “New Monasticism” is being bandied about as a term.  I’m well aware that I am unfamiliar with all the debates, and even with the labels that are used.  There are debates about how much of the old one should hold on to, and whether it is better to start from a blank page.  (I have just grossly oversimplified a highly nuanced debate, so if anyone is reading this with horror, I apologise).  

I’d love to understand more, and will try, but the most important thing i can do is try to cross between the worlds of the parishes here, the world of my friends, and this more academic debate, and let one inform the others as far as possible.  After all, Christianity is all about incarnation – about life lived on earth as well as beyond.  Those with whom I have engaged on Twitter have been kind and gracious – thank goodness.  Theology is an academic discipline, but it is something we all live out. 

And it’s also been a Twitter day of sharks, minnows, Daleks and mutant spider plants.  The world can be very strange!


One response to “Interesting Times

  1. New Monasticism sounds fascinating – I haven't seen any of this on Twitter, but it sets up huge echoes of a book of mine due out in December – The Prayer Seeker. My MC is certainly pretty monastic! 🙂

    I must discover more …


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