Sunday, 21 February 2010

This was posted on Mark Townsend's Facebook.

I wonder what readers of this Blog think,

I love your expression "inter-spiritual" Mark - I think I mean the same thing in my Blog Title "Progressive Spirituality". The key is that "religion" or even "faith" do not do justice to the breadth of the movement that is growing - as evidenced just by my Facebook feed [though yours will differ depending on who you have friended]. I am convinced that a radically seperate view is convergent across open minded Christians and those follwing many other faiths and practices.
The breadth is huge - and coveres indigenous religions, the "Pagan" foundations from the interchange of ideas across north Africa, the Middle East and into India - in the millenia before Jesus, and indeed in the Druidic / Celtic forms of Christianity in these Islands that followed. [I read a fascinating piece yesterday that pushes writng - with symbols common to the Americas, Eurasia, and Australia - being thousands of millenia sooner than previously evidenced.]

A "theology" that goes back to the pre-Christian period and I think represents what the core understanding of the ancients was, and again works for us is this - set out by Gordon Lynch - Prof at Birkbeck University, London. He says the ideology of Progressive Spirituality is (with some bracketed additions of mine):

• The unity of the ineffable and immanent divine – the guiding intelligence behind evolutionary process and the energy of the universe itself

• Pantheism / Panentheism – replacing a transcendent, patriarchal view of God

• Mysticism and the divine feminine – using symbol and liturgy, encounter with nature and celebration of the feminine in God

• The sacralisation of nature – affirmation of the material and nature / life as participation in divinity

• The sacralisation of the self – as a manifestation of the divine ( with human consciousness derived from the supra-consciousness of the “All”).

• Understandings of Religion – as culturally and historically bound and thus metaphorical – enabling a growing spirit of ‘ecumenism’ [interfaith / interspirituality]

Gordon notes that "The deeper cultural roots of progressive spirituality show underlying coherence, reflecting adaptation to modernism, liberalism and welcome insights in quantum physics and cosmic ‘unfolding’."
I think a new re-alignment along these lines would be very powerful indeed - and needs to be built from outside present structures (of particularly Christianity) but supported ny those who stay in the strictures to call for change within. So both are needed - pioneers to work to build community outside - while those within for now keep pushing and explaining. I also see a "real world" wisdom that would seek to form new collectives of "inter-spirituality" being formed - perhaps taking on religious buildings, or meeting in homes rented places, in self-supporting foundations - with a national charitable base - to build the inevitable growth than will be needed in these transitional times from the old pardigm to the new paradigm expressed in Gordon's "ideology of progressive spirituality". There will be no barriers and an open table.

Enough for now. John

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