I am learning more and more ever day. This is why travel is so important. t’s not the air miles or the steps walked but the encounters that are especially vivid when you know you are not at home.
The cold continues to fascinate. It was only about -15 at dawn this morning. ‘Well, that’s not bad’, I thought. A week ago I would have been beside myself with the prospect of stepping out into such a temperature. I was up before dawn, by the way, and as I was making some tea noticed one of the clergy here (I am with them on retreat now) going for a run Yes, a run.
As they were gathering yesterday I noticed some of the conversation topics and was comparing and contrasting with what clergy discuss as they turn up at events back home. Never have I heard in the UK a clergy conversation which revolved around recent chain saw accidents in the parish.
I was a bit miserable yesterday as I thought I had picked up a cold. But apparently I haven’t. What’s going on is that the breathing in of extremely cold air causes havoc inside your nose etc and you get lots of cold-like symptoms without being troubled by a virus. Maybe this is why a cold is called a cold.
Life is going to be dominated by giving retreat addresses for the next 24 hours. Here’s the final part of this morning’s:
One of my subthemes here is that although the Christian spiritual tradition has many wonderful gifts to offer the contemporary world, people today don’t even begin to think of the church as a repository of spiritual wisdom. If they want that they will go to Buddhism or to psychology. Why not the church?
I can think of three reasons:
• Their memory of the church they once attended contains no trace elements of mature spirituality.
• What they see of the church today looks like people arguing about the answers to questions that no one else is asking.
• Buddhism and Psychology do better advertising.
But there’s also a fourth:
The church so closely reflects the world, not least in its attitude to time, and its alienation from the pace of God, that it simply looks and feels unspiritual. This also means that the church itself has precious little time for the things of the spirit.
And that, I think, is our primary missiological challenge: not to resemble to world more closely but to resemble reality more closely. And if our spirituality is anything, it is the attempt not to become more ideal but to become more real. It follows that spirituality and mission are deeply connected