Sunday, May 04, 2008

Just Another Weekend at the Oregon Coast


Well, I'm back. I had a great time.

I'm still processing all the stuff that went on in my head during two full days of doing nothing but staring at the ocean. I don't feel like I had any particular clarification on the career front (though I did have one or two new ideas). Instead, what dominated my short time away were the concepts introduced to me in the book Listening for the Heartbeat of God.

In about a month, my parish is hosting a lecture on Celtic spirituality with an eminent local expert. It's partly my brainchild, because I have been pushing almost since the day I arrived to establish a regular lecture series as a means of both community outreach and improving the adult formation opportunities. Fortunately, a couple of other folks had similar ideas, so I had help and support. Our initial topic was chosen because one of the projects the rector is pursuing on his sabbatical is a pilgrimage to Ireland, and we thought it would be nice for the congregation to mirror that in some way. (Wasn't my idea; can't take any credit for that one.)

Our speaker recommended this book as a good overview of the subject, so we bought several copies and are selling them off as a fundraiser for an upcoming women's retreat. Since I helped organize the lecture, I figured I'd better read the book and reserved this weekend for it.

What is Celtic spirituality? I had no idea. For all I knew, it was Guinness at the Eucharist.

In short, it is seeing and sensing the presence of God in all of creation, and believing in the inherent goodness of all things; it is taking seriously John's proposition that "in him was life, and the life was the light of all people."

These weren't new ideas for me; in fact, this is the way I have always related to God. Still, reading about it opened up opportunities for deeper reflection and exploration. Being suddenly conscious that I move in this way -- and moreover, that many Christians do not -- has helped me to see why I come at certain issues from a different direction. I'm sure there will be more on this later; for now, I'm off to a local gay blogger meet-up organized by man-about-town SMB.

I'll have more to share about my time at the coast, too, including some great pictures. Other than coming home to get some cat-love, I really didn't want to come back.

1 comment:

kr said...

Celtic spirituality: some of my most frustrating moments in theatre were spent watching Brian Friel's "Dancing at Lughnasa": two really good productions I've seen (high quality college, Equity house) had completely missed the heart of the matter--any play deeply about the Irish HAS to have the deep spiritual center. I saw a year or two later (when the play owners let the peons have legal access) a decidedly amateur production that was much more satisfying, because it was very nearly properly centered, and that made up for lacks in the set etc. (and a few lacks in the acting ;) ).

Similar experience watching "Crowns"--another phenomenal script (I love love LOVE that show), which, like "Lughnasa," specifically ties historical pagan spirituality to 20th c Christian life; African American Christians are another cultural group that simply CANNOT be properly represented if you are not willing to present(/capable of presenting) the incredible depth and constancy of their spiritual Life. The production got all the emotions right ... but none of the actors was ever a member of "one of those churches" (they were specifically asked one day), and I could tell. They poured their hearts into their roles, and it was beautiful in a very humanistic, here and now way ... but there was more heart they just didn't, for whatever reason, access, and the show lacked the deepest resonances as a result.

Sigh.

It was tragic to me that such great scripted presentations of those peoples could lose so much in translation to the stage, and especially tragic that the translators (and most of the audiences) clearly had NO idea anything had been lost at all. : (.

On a last theatre-y note, I was INFINITELY irritated when I saw "Lord of the Dance" on TV and Flatterly came out leaping like a stag, CLEARLY in the role of the Horned God, and wasn't wearing HORNS. I mean, I know it's a bit chancy to connect this now-nationalistic Irish dancing with the pre-Christian pagan stuff, but to be so obvious and then obscure it ... ! Again, the Celtic spirituality, the holiness in all things, cut short of a full presentation. Argh. (Perhaps he didn't know he was invoking the Horned God ... but SOMEBODY on the production staff MUST have seen it! They were Irish! Argh!)

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Probably this sense/understanding is why you and I have many theological commonalities.

I am surprised that you knew nothing of Celtic spirituality. And I wonder why I know so much ;). I guess Irish blood runs as strong as they say.