Time for spiritual solace

The last two weeks have been rather manic! I think we have experienced stage two of the November Revolution which was triggered by the no vote on women bishops in Synod. Now the Church of England’s position on LGB&T people and same-sex relationships is collapsing.

The Church of England reaction to the women bishops vote and the government’s equal marriage bill has provoked similar reactions:

  • The Church has discovered for a second time that Government is going to follow a path of visionary transformation, adding equal marriage in society to equality for women in the Church as matters which are now resolved for the majority in English society. (I also happen to believe the Holy Spirit is resolved on these matters).
  • For a second time, people are saying ‘Not in my name’; not in my name, Dr Philip Giddings, when you speak against women bishops; not in my name, Church House, when you oppose equal marriage.
  • The centre is stirring. The core of the Church of England is waking from its somnolent passivity and wondering what to do about the way our tolerant broad Church has been redefined by the extremists.

In the midst of daily revelations and media excitement I can feel, ‘for such a time as this I was born’. Adrenalin flows and each new development produces either shocked reaction at the Church of England’s latest intervention or excitement that we have so many allies in the Church and in Government.

At last the madness is subsiding and I have space to return to my more centred self. This morning as I gazed out of my window contemplating the beauty of the dawn, I knew that I was born to live from a much more profound and connected centre and that in truth, this is the journey for which I was born.

Many of us who have been blogging and commenting like mad and been caught up in the turmoil of the last few days are drawn to the campaign for justice are also deeply spiritual people. I don’t know about you, but my strongest, deepest yearning is for a Church that ‘gets it’ spiritually and reflects our deepest connections with God and core experience, love and wisdom.

This morning I started to read Soulful Spirituality: Becoming Fully Alive and Deeply Human by David Benner. For spiritual solace, I offer you extracts from his Preface.

“I am aware that my own fondness for the life-as-journey metaphor reflects a good deal of my own spirituality. It accommodates my restlessness and interminable seeking, and it reflects my tendency to view things in dynamic rather than static terms. More importantly, it fits well with my emphasis on becoming, as well as the closely related theme of transformation. These things made it hard for me to settle into any Christian identity that was based on having arrived of possessing the truth.

“Being a Christian has always meant being a seeker, not simply a finder. My identity as a Christian has had more to do with becoming rather than with simply being. And what I have wanted to become has been fully alive and deeply human.

“The fulfilment of our humanity never happens automatically. Nor does it ever occur apart from certain core spiritual ways of living. However, not all spiritual paths – nor even all expressions of Christian spirituality – lead us in this direction.

“Soulful spirituality is not a spiritual path but a spiritual way of walking the human path. The practices of soulful spirituality are deeply Christian even though none are distinctively Christian. These practices represent spiritual ways of living that support the journey of becoming fully human.

“My primary audience us Christian seekers – those who have been frustrated by what they have found in the church yet who – thankfully – still seek. But it also includes those whose involvement with church may have been minimal enough to have left them not frustrated but simply unfulfilled, the church seeming to them to be irrelevant to their spiritual quest.

“You may be surprised to discover how much Christian spirituality differs from what you had assumed and how richly it could enhance both your human and your spiritual journey.

“I think we will find it to be an experience that will engage our minds and hearts and will have profound implications for our bodies, spirits and souls. I am convinced it has the potential to help us become more whole, more fully alive and more deeply human.”

My soul resonated deeply as I read David Benner’s introduction. He helped me return more deeply to my core. Those of you who know me will know why the first paragraph in particular really affirmed me. Many of you came to mind as I read, and thought about your own very particular journeys, yearnings and frustrations.

Be blessed, my friends.

Join the discussion