As I have referred to before, each day I read an excerpt from a commentary on the Rule of Benedict. I have been doing this for around 15 years, and it cycles 3 times a year, so that is a lot!
This morning for the first time I noticed:
The end of Benedictine spirituality is to develop a transparent personality. Dissimulation, half answers, vindictive attitudes, a false presentation of self are all barbs in the soul of the monastic. (my emphasis).
And last night Lesley and I had been talking to some people who are going to help us run something like the new St Martin’s in the Fields course. (If you are local, watch this space – we are planning to run it in Advent).
Lesley and I took part in a session at Greenbelt, and one of the things that I picked up from it there was that one of the aims was to get people to say what they really thought, rather than what they thought they should say!
Having been involved in a number of confirmation type groups over the years, one of the things that I have noticed is that the more churched people are, the more they want to know what the vicar thinks, whereas the less churched want an open discussion where they are quite happy to share what they think – whether it reflects orthodox thinking or not. A long time ago I used to follow a blog where one of the posts was about the writers ideal church it had something like:
You can believe what you want (you will anyway, you just won’t tell me).
If you want to grow spiritually you have to be honest about where you are. Too many people belong to churches where there are right and wrong beliefs, and if you hold wrong ones you are not welcome. How can you grow in the faith in those circumstances? Sometimes we go down a dead end and have to turn around, but that dead end may well have been helpful, but if we can’t admit that that is where we are then it is difficult to do the U turn.