Lenten Refection

candlesFor various reasons I haven’t been writing my usual Lenten series this year and here we are in week 3 of the season. I’m not attempting to make a late start with this message, simply sharing a thought that has been with me this time around: less is more.

For me, Lent is one part of the Christian expression of a beautiful vision of our world, its mystery and enchantment, and our place within it. The central theme of Lent is one of ‘giving something up’ although I have also heard people speak of ‘taking something up’. It seems to me that we need someone or something, some voice, or ritual, or season to help us make choices for the lesser rather than the greater.

Mostly, our lives are crammed with too many tasks, objects, personal development projects, relationships, goals and so on. People now employ specialist consultants to help them to de-clutter, such is the chronic condition of our obsessive compulsion to do, or own or be just one more thing (and then another, oh, and that one too, and yes, look over there … ).

How nice to be part of a faith tradition that encourages us to enter a season of giving something up. Our gestures of sacrifice, at least mine, are fragile and seem the poorest possible shadows of what the great saints of our tradition have gone without in the pursuit and course of the beautiful vision, the truly attractive life. But even a small gesture of resistance against the corporate compulsion for mindless and endless accumulation, ‘growth’ and increase can seem like a wonderful triumph.

Sometimes our bodies need less of something, often it’s our egos that could do with a rest, usually both body and psyche will appreciate the surprising benefits  of the developing discipline of saying ‘no’ to one thing to enable ‘yes’ to another. Space and rest are incubators for the soul, that beautiful, secret part of us that has been infused with the nature of the Divine.

I leave you with one small expression of this in the words of theologian, Karl Rahner:

[our] reality is a picture of heaped-up activities, where the trivial, jostles the less trivial, and the less trivial elbows the important things, and there is no unity of design, nor any intensity of single, concentrated purpose … a [person] may turn from it all; and immediately the noise of his activities sinks to silence as, in a spirit of reverence and love, [she] speaks to God in prayer. With one swift upward glance of the soul, he has got as near as his finite nature will allow … to that sublime fusion of all … activities into one glowing point of heat and of light (Happiness through prayer).

Dr Phil Daughtry

Head of School, Humanities and Social Sciences

 

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From Palms to the Cross

A great websImageite which a number of our lecturers here at Tabor Adelaide subscribe to and use is called The Work of the People

They describe themselves as “an independent ecumenical platform that produces and publishes multimedia to stir imagination, spark discussion and move people toward discovery and transformation.” And they get a lot of great Christian thinkers contributing (including Brueggemann, Volf, and Wright).

I thought the clip at this link, From Palms to the Cross , was particularly relevant given our location in the Christian year.

 

Dr Aaron Chalmers, Head Of School, Ministry, Theology and Culture

Hidden Treasure in Plain Sight

billy 2 Here is another of Phil Daughtry’s Lenten reflections:

Its 3p.m. on a Saturday afternoon and I’m on my personal jogging circuit within my suburb. I pass houses, gardens, trees, cars, bicycles and birds, and two small reserves (parks). In both of these I notice a dad, with his kids (toddler to middle-primary school age) and a football. I’m struck by the coincidence of the duplicate scenario in the two similar but separated spaces and it gets me thinking (a good idea when you’re 30 minutes into your run and need some distraction). Read More

The Invisibility Cloak

ImageEach year, Dr Phil Daughtry, the Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, writes a series of Lenten reflections which he shares with the staff of Tabor Adelaide. Phil has a PhD focussing on Karl Rahner and his spirituality of silence, and he has a particular research interest in youth spirituality. If you are interested in hearing some more of his reflections, let us know and we will post them on the blog.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a colleague about the invisible people. The context was a discussion about specialist youth programs in schools for students who are neither ‘gifted’ nor ‘challenged’, neither high-achieving nor disengaged. One of these young people, in year nine, had disclosed to my colleague a perception: ‘no-one notices when I’m not here’. Read More