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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My Guru

The estimable Kim Fabricius is at it again, with his ten propositions. (Like someone else said recently, in contrast to (say) Carl F.H. Henry, Fabricius has reclaimed for me the value of propositions.) This time he is making propositions about 'spirituality', and he is ten for ten. A couple of excerpts to whet your appetite:

Theology without spirituality is empty, spirituality without theology is blind.

Spirituality has been called theology on its knees, but it is also theology on its feet, in labora as well as ora. “Bread for myself is a physical matter,” said Nocolas Berdyaev, “but bread for my neighbour is a spiritual matter.” Any authentic Christian spirituality will have shalom – peace-and-justice – at its heart.

and, quoting Rowan Williams:

Williams suggests that we understand spirituality in terms of “each believer making his or her own that engagement with the questioning at the heart of faith.” But spirituality is “far more than a science of interpreting exceptional private experiences; it must … touch every area of human experience, the public and the social, the painful, negative, even pathological byways of the mind, the moral and relational world. And the goal of a Christian life becomes not enlightenment but wholeness – an acceptance of this complicated and muddled bundle of experiences as a possible theatre for God’s creative work.”

I worked in hospital chaplaincy for a short time, and have worked alongside enough people thinking about pastoral care using social science models ('all people have a natural spirituality, which is realised in different ways...' e.g.), and so I am glad to see these out there - although of course people such as Edith Humphrey, Mark McIntosh, and Philip Sheldrake have been saying similar things for those with ears to listen. Go and read them all now.

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