Dispatches from Durham – A Dip into Church Life

I’ve spent time in different churches these past few Sundays – the cathedral with sung formal liturgies and congregations of the evangelical church of England… congregations with gracious pastors, coffee time and worship music sung from screens on the wall.  Good ol’ Chris Tomlin anthems. It’s a good education as to where the Christian church is in this part of the world.

My month in Ireland deepened my appreciation for Celtic spirituality – the pragmatic sense of God in all things, the inherent goodness of creation and consequently us, as part of that creation. The mindful residue of that month bumps up against music drenched in the blood of atonement, and a Christianity deeply affected by Augustinian separation of soul, heart and body.

I’ve been fascinated by the connections I see between Celtic spirituality, Anabaptist theology and theater. Dara Malloy, a Celtic priest we met on the Aran Islands in Ireland spoke of the almost complete lack of great theologians in Celtic expression, “It’s because it’s not a theoretical expression, it’s an experiential faith, it must be lived.” Anabaptist theology is sometimes called, theology of the present—It is working and playing within the kingdom of God here and now—and of course theater and acting is all about being present in the moments on stage. Perhaps more on this later…

 

 

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