Wednesday, March 29, 2017

On spirituality

Once again, looking at Psephizo, there is something to ponder. This time on spirituality and evangelicals.

Of particular interest, inter alia, is this observation from Alister McGrath:

"They [evangelicals] seem to assume that reading the Bible is unproblematic, and is in itself an adequate approach to spirituality."

So, reading the Bible: is that all there is to spirituality? (Assuming, of course, some prayer as well).

And, is reading the Bible unproblematic?


Andrei said...

Sometimes Peter I feel you overthink things and make everything too cerebral

As human beings we are surrounded in mysteries and filled with questions we cannot answer, that is our lot

The emphasis on the Bible, which don't get me wrong is highly important, to the exclusion of other things and relying on words and discussion to gain insight and draw closer to God might work for some but not for most, I'd suggest

We have a deep yearning in our souls, well I do anyway, which I interpret as a longing for God, from whom (for now) we are separated by our fallen condition but we can draw near in our worship, the Bible and Preaching can serve as a guides but they are not the center of Worship (in my mind)

I could tell you of how we found a place to Worship when we came here, I was young and we ended up in the Greek Church after a misstep in a protestant church which we attended only once - it was a mission to get to that Greek Church, two bus rides there and two bus rides back

And the first time we went this old Greek widow dressed all in black (widows did that back then or at least the ones we knew did) asked me after the liturgy my name, and when I told her she said "Ah Andrei - Andréas, you are named for Apóstolos Andréas, the first called" and she took me to the Icon and told me all about him and how I must strive to follow his example in following "Iisoús Christós"

And I felt a great connection to "Iisoús Christós" and his eternal Church and my place within it at that point

And the point of telling you this is that a great teacher might not have a theological degree, might not even read English, speak it well or might not even be able to read at all but have insights hidden from the wise

I don't know what you make of that, we all live in our bubbles, what would an unchurched resident of South Auckland make of it? Or a South Auckland Methodist of Pacifica origin?

But I think sermons should be short and to the point and that Sunday Worship should be devoted to approaching God through the liturgies which are bigger and more eternal than any fashionable preacher who might like the sound of his own voice too much

And in my experience the greatest teachers of the Faith are not the ones prominent in the Church hierarchy, important though they may be but the faithful who do the mundane tasks usually unseen who have great lessons to impart if your ears and heart are open their gifts

Peter Carrell said...

I am trying, Andrei, not to overthink your lovely comment above!

Father Ron said...

Dear Andrei, having received the kind hospitality of a Greek Orthodox priest and his wife on a Greek Island, I can relate fully to the spiritual ethos of which you speak.

At the Liturgy of Holy Cross Day (I had told the couple of my life as an Anglican priest when we had met the night before) I was invited to sit near the altar in the sanctuary - a close observer of the dramatic unfolding of the Eucharist. Though not able to take part in the actual Eucharistic reception - I was the first to receive the 'Blessed Bread'. Afterwards the priest and his wife invited me to their family breakfast. I will never forget that experience of deep Christian hospitality. This was a heart, rather than a brain, experience of the Body of Christ in action.