I’ve just finished reading The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your Transformation, by Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell (SPCK, 2016).
The essential message of the book is that we’ve all got it wrong about the Holy Trinity. And, as a consequence, Christians have failed to enter fully into the life of God. Rohr and Morrell invite us to re-think, and to re-experience, the Trinity less as personhood (noun), and more about relationship (verb). Although the headline metaphor is that of a divine dance, Rohr continually returns to the notion of ‘flow’. …
According to a recent article on the BBC News Magazine website, about one fifth of the UK population would describe themselves as ‘spiritual, but not religious’.
Recent research by Prof Michael King from University College London suggests that this group may be more prone to mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, compared with the conventionally religious, or even compared with those who would describe themselves as agnostic or atheist.
‘Spiritual, but not religious’ describe, of course, a very broad church, ranging from neo-paganism to devotees of healing crystals, and much else besides. …
I recently got round to listening to the podcast of a discussion on this topic on Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable show. The Revd Dr Alasdair Coles is a neurologist and a Christian. His interest in the subject was stimulated by meeting a Christian patient who claimed to have some very powerful religious experiences but which, as it seems, were actually being triggered by epilepsy. The sceptical perspective was represented by Martyn Frame, a psychological therapist.…
Recently, I attended a Eucharist. It being the feast day of Julian of Norwich (8th May), some attention was given within the service to this spiritual writer (1342-c1416).
Those who know me, or who are regular readers of my web site will realise that I was slightly out of my comfort zone at this event. Clearly, we were firmly within the High Church, or Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church of England. A crucifix was prominent, as was a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and various other accoutrements of that tradition.…
In a number of religious traditions, both Christian and non-Christian, the practice of ‘meditation’ is understood to be a non-verbal way of praying. This can often reflect a certain suspicion of propositional truth and verbal expression.
The relevant article in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia provides helpful clarification:-
In the biblical world meditation was not a silent practice. [The underpinning Hebrew word] means “growl,” “utter” or “moan” as well as “meditate” or “muse.” No doubt meditation involved a muttering sound from reading half aloud or conversing with oneself.
The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery has a thought-provoking summary of biblical teaching on silence.
Silence communicates. It is a basic feature of human relationships, for we must often interpret the silence of others. And by its very nature silence can express a wide variety of things. Usually it is not hard to interpret-the rebellious sullenness of a child, the hush as the school principal or head teacher enters. But sometimes silence is hard to interpret.
It is not surprising, therefore, that silence in the Bible expresses a wide range of emotions, attitudes and states: attentiveness, (Deut 27:9; Job 33:31; Acts 19:33) restraint, (1 Sam 10:27; Ps 50:12 Jer 4:19) respect and awe, (Job 29:21; Hab 2:20) loyalty, (Isa 36:21) deep thought, (Ac 15:12) acceptance of guilt, (Job 13:19; Rom 3:19) rest after tumult or suffering, (Ps 46:10; Mk 4:39) fear of saying something wrong, (Ps 39:2) even wisdom; (Job 13:5; Pr 17:28) more negatively, it can express faithlessness, (Es 4:14) fear, (Job 31:34; Acts 18:9) deep pain, (Job 2:13; La 2:10) rebellion, (Ps 32:2 Mk 3:4) defeat or destruction, (Ps 101:5; 143:12; Isa 47:5) and supremely death.