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Switch to Forum Live View A New Celtic Christian Monasticism
5 years ago  ::  May 24, 2009 - 12:27AM #1
Pastorlisa
Posts: 15

I am working with a small group in The Celtic Church of Yahweh and we are currently creating a new relgious order of both men and women that may either live the monastic life in their own communities or live as part of a religious community/monastery.  We are also reviving the christian knighthood.   So I thought this may be a good place to get some feed back and/or questions as I am developing our web site to  help me in this journey such as what sort of questions should be answerd on the site, how do you feel that the monastic life could be of use to you, how could this be of use to the community, what sort of needs should we focus on addressing, etc. 


We already have much of this hashed out but could some in put and thought provoking questions on anything we may not have come across yet.


Thanks :)

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5 years ago  ::  May 24, 2009 - 7:29AM #2
mfjfarrell
Posts: 237

Dia annseo isteach!


God to all here!


 


Greetings Lisa,


And welcome to the Celtic corner of Beliefnet.  May God bless the work you within your heart.  May He grant you good success and lead you in serving Him.


Actually, I have seen this done before by other groups, usually from Protestant backgrouds, who sincerely desire to put God first in their lives.  What determines the success or failure of the endeavor is whether it is relevant to our society.  Many have sought only to improve their own religious life but failed in their commitment to reach other to the needs around them in their community.  They soon became another exclusive Christian club and thus began to stagnate.  One of the flaws of Western Christianity is its exclusiveness regarding the 'kingdom vs. the world'. 


From the name you have chosen I surmise you are from a Protestant Fundamentalist background. (no saints names!)  The foundation for Western Theology, both Catholic and Protestant, is based on 'original sin', a doctrine the Christian Celts flatly rejected.  For decades I have watched many coming from those traditions struggle to break free of 'mankind's corruption' so inherent in Western thought and see all of Creation, mankind and nature, as resonating the presence of God.  Often they professed it but in their understandings they revealed how well rooted this negativity is in their belief.  First, I would adress this issue with your group.  Perhaps a quick course on Eastern Theology would be beneficial to you.  While Celtic Theology is similar to Eastern there are points where we do disagree as well.  It would, however, be beneficial to you to experience a newer way of thinking about the Creator and His Creation.


I'll assume your group has already prepared a 'statement of faith' as is common in for the various sects.  Perhaps you could address the 'sin issue' there to help define yourselves.  It would be nice if there were a group dedicated to actually teaching Celtic Theology, its been a daunting task in all the years I have been involved and still is to this day.  Perhaps contacting J. Philip Newell, author of several Celtic books and lecturer, might help in developing your creed.


I see this post is running longer than I intended here, please feel free to contact me directly at mfjfarrell@yahoo.com if you'd like any further insights I may have.  Again, may God bless you in your work...


Slan,


Marty

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5 years ago  ::  May 24, 2009 - 9:25AM #3
mfjfarrell
Posts: 237

Greetings again Lisa,


After my post earlier I checked out the site you mentioned in yours.  It appears that the thrust of your mission is Messianic Fundamentalism.  May I ask why you chose to include 'Celtic' in the title of your organization?  Celtic Evangelism is totally different from Fundamentalism!  Putting that first would imply that you follow the Celtic Way and may be quite misleading to any who are seeking to discover real Celtic Christianity.


In your statement of faith you began with the Scriptures as the one and only source of your understanding.  Celts have always been the 'people of two books' - Scriptures and Creation.  Christ is revealed to us in both places!


The 'conformity' verse you chose to separate yourself from mainline churches is not about conformity of opinion.  Celtic Christianity is more about conforming ourselves with Christ.  In that way we are able to share our common Journey with each other.  The Harmony with seek with ourselves, Christ and each other begins within our own hearts, not mental accession to Christian propaganda.


I'm sorry is this offends you but I'm very concerned about your use of the word 'Celtic'.  That site reflected anger and discontentment, that's just more 'elitism' typical in Fundamentalists.  I'd suggest you do more research into what Celtic Christianity is really about.  I didn't see any of it on that site.


Slan,


Marty


 

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5 years ago  ::  May 24, 2009 - 1:19PM #4
Pastorlisa
Posts: 15

 


Thank you for taking the time to respond.


 


I am not offended by the comments since this is a work in progress and the site does not accurately reflect our theology or our mission, which is the reason for this post in the first place, to get feedback such as this so that we can improve it, so I thank you for that. The first site was a quick job to get something in place from which we could work, tweak, amend, etc. until we got it right. Our theology and philosophy is very deep and rich and not always easy to condense into a paragraph or two but we are working on perfecting that while at the same time avoiding language that everyone else uses. (For example, other fundamental groups claim to follow the Bible and nothing but yet they view the planet as a "resource" for them to use and abuse at will and completely ignore the intimate connection with nature that is so beautifully illustrated in several passages of the scriptures.)


 


We are different, but our site and materials are not yet reflecting our mission and core philosophy which is why we are trying to revise it. We are not entirely Celtic as we see some value and basic truth in some protestant teachings, in the messianic theology, etc. so we have tried to blend the truths of these elements together for a unique (in the modern age) expression of faith that returns us to our ancient roots and lives in a way which is pleasing to God. This is a very crude model at best, but to give you just a basic overview I would say that we are 65-70% Celtic (Pre/Non-Roman), 10-15 % Messianic, 10% Protestant, 5% Eastern Philosophy, and 5% original (in comparison to the modern denominations) or a mix of others. Hence, why our inclusion of the word 'Celtic' in our name.  Our liturgy is Celtic with a couple of the Hebrew blessings as well, but we also want a service afterwards which is more similar to a protestant sermon followed by a round table discussion and fellowship which is a bit unusual.


As far as the concept of original sin goes, we reject this for more of a tabula rasa view of sin. Sin exists as a matter of choice. Human beings are created with great potential for nobility and spiritual awareness, yet what we choose to do with that potential is completely up to us. In Matthew, Christ gives us the following command: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matt 5:48 If the concept of original sin meant that we were all inherently wicked; how then could anyone ever achieve this command? We believe that the nature of sin exists in the world but it is our choice to embrace it. We are ultimately in control of our own destinies. God would have it that none should perish, but He did give us free will and although He has provided a way for us, He does not force us to choose it. So whether we are good or evil is a matter of our own personal choices and we can at any time also choose to reverse that course. A person who has lived a wicked life, may choose to denounce that way of life and turn to God just as they originaly chose to do the sin in the first place. This is why we do not believe in baptizing infants. Baptism if for the remission of sins, a baby is innocent and has no sins for which to be forgiven of and therefore has no need of baptism.


 


On conformity....the Bible does command us to be set apart and not to be a part of this world. But by this it is not to be an exclusive club of the haves and the have nots the way it has become. What this means is that, the Kingdom of God works by a different set of rules than the world and as a Christian, I do not live by the standards of this world. A couple of quick examples: The Good Samaritan, the world says "it's not our problem" or "this is MY money and I'm not giving it away for some bumb on the street". But that is not the standards by which we live, we are called to do as the Good Samaritan did, to put our needs aside and to aid those who are in need. The world says that adultery is common and everyone is doing it; however, we are held to a higher standard by honoring our vows. The world says that you have to watch TV and movies that are full of sex and inappropriate teaching, that dressing immodestly is fashionable, etc. etc. But this is not the world in which we are to live. However, that does not mean that we are totally isolated from the needs of others. We are to work daily to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and heal the hurting wherever and whomever they may be.


This to is a very long post but perhaps the beginnings of a fruitful conversation.


I'd also appreciate your insights on our order's site at: loyalorderofshilah.co.nr It is not quite complete and needs some fine tuning but your insight would be appreciate if you choose to have a look.

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5 years ago  ::  May 24, 2009 - 3:13PM #5
mfjfarrell
Posts: 237

Hey Lisa,


Thanks for the response.  It has put me a bit at ease with your project.  Are you familiar with the Emergent Church?  Its a work currently underway throughout North America that attempting to bring the original 'good news' of the Early Church into our modern society.  As I read your response here it made me think much of what you are attempting to do may already be under way with them.


I recently finished a book, "a Generous Orthodoxy" by Brian McLaren, that is attempting to incorporate all the 'good' from within various sects and denominations while being true to the First Call of Christ to love all mankind.  In his introduction, I found it interesting to note that among other traditions, he did not specifically delve into Celtic Christianity.  Yet, as I finished his book I realized we have so much in common with each other.  I'd also recommend Phyllis Tickle's book, "The Great Emergence", to you.  She has a vast knowledge of the workings of Christian history and theological streams that really humbled me!  I think you'll find both of them well worth the read!


I understand completely that your site is a 'work in progress'.  I've identified the issues that concerned me and I understand it is all a 'blending' of the best from your various backgrounds.  I looked at your other site "Loyal Order of Sheilah" but it seems it is only just beginning as well.  My one thought about it was that it is attempting many diverse areas of need!  I tend to build slower and create areas of need as they arise.  But I wish you well in this task.  It may, however, become more than you yourself can handle!  I hope there are others moderating it along with you.


As for length of posts, never fear about being too long.  In all honesty though, many people do have a short attention span so I'd suggest merely keeping it simple!


Regarding the 'world' verses the 'kingdom', the Celts were adverse to the Roman concept of 'dualism', things being separate.  Rather, they saw all the troubles that were in the world and saw that within everyone 'in the world' there was still the Light of Christ that needed liberation.  They were not idealists about their mission.  The three martyrdoms they held to included death!  As they saw it, the Kingdom of God is within the hearts and souls of all mankind, even the ones who offend our sensibilities.  The 'Immanence of God' precluded any categorization of world and kingdom.  Both are within Christ.


It has been rather dead here for quite a bit, I too look forward to our conversations and sharings...


Slan,(bye)
Marty
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5 years ago  ::  May 27, 2009 - 10:18AM #6
Liriodendron
Posts: 36

I've been thinking on your question - "how do you feel that the monastic life could be of use to you, how could this be of use to the community". 


It never occured to me  that the monastic life could be of use to me, but I suppose if there was a monastary around that was open for people to come in and have some one to talk with, that would be cool. 


You know how insanely busy modern life is; so for me, fellowshipping works best when it is combined with a job that has to be done.  Like if a group did a big cooking project and everybody took home some meals for the freezer; or if your monestary had a green house and people could come start plants for their vegetable garden - or even have community gardens.  And if the work was done along side your monks, encouraging conversation could happen. 


I'd also think it would be great to see example of people living simply in this world.  So many of us would like to make that change but just don't know how.


A for a joining a monestary, even a non-residential one, I don't think I would while I still have family obligations.  But I might unofficially try to incorporate some of the life ways if I were exposed to the good example.


 


I like your comments about the Good Samaritan in your last post.


 


As for as having a church with no politics (if by that you mean internal power struggles), that's an ideal I hardly believe is possible, especially as a chruch grows older and gets more and diverse people.  There would have to be almost constant preaching on putting love first and servant leadership; as well as a heck of a lot of prayer. 


If you mean staying out of government politics, I think that would be great.


 


I was looking at your profile and read your post about the girl drawing fairies.  I really don't think the Celts would agree with your answer, which also seemed a little harsh.


 


I'm also curious how the Messianic part works into your church.   Are you a Jew?  Are you especially wanting born again Jews to join you?

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5 years ago  ::  May 29, 2009 - 1:50AM #7
Pastorlisa
Posts: 15

Marty,


Thank you for the reading recommendations, I will have to try to find a copy of the books that you mentioned as they do sound very interesting.  I apologize for taking so long to respond, we have been busy revamping things and trying to get things in order.  We have done a major over haul to the website (the church one, not finished with the site for our Order yet) if you care to take a look: celticchurchofyahweh.org.  I think it is reflecting our goals, mission, and philosophy much better although it will always be a work in progress as we ourselves are.


  As I read your response here it made me think much of what you are attempting to do may already be under way with them.


There are certainly some similarities there; however, we are quite different in doctrinal views and stand firm on the foundations of the Bible and its authority in our lives.


It may, however, become more than you yourself can handle!  I hope there are others moderating it along with you.


I am working with a very small group; however, we certainly need all of the help that we can get and hope to add to the group as like minded individuals find their way to us. But rest assured, I have been fully equipped by God to handle whatever tasks He has chosen me for, and by His power I shall achieve what so ever He wishes of me.


Regarding the 'world' verses the 'kingdom', the Celts were adverse to the Roman concept of 'dualism', things being separate.  Rather, they saw all the troubles that were in the world and saw that within everyone 'in the world' there was still the Light of Christ that needed liberation...The 'Immanence of God' precluded any categorization of world and kingdom.  Both are within Christ.


I think that that type of dualism that I am referring to is not quite the same thing. With that said; however, we have a great need for a type of New Celtic Christianity today to address one major area in which the old ideals were lacking but only because of the simple fact that there was no need at the time. I do not think that the early Galatians or the early Celtic Church could have even related to the world that we live in, in which if you ask most people today (particularly younger generations) where their food comes from, they would respond "Wal-Mart".


So many people today live in a world of concrete and steel and materialism has taken over the minds of so many they confuse this constructed world with the "real one". And whether we like it or not, there is a line drawn, as God says in the scriptures you are either in Him or you are in the world and you can not be in both. The early Celtic Church had no problem relating to God where as today that concept of a real and living God sounds like a quaint fairy tale to many in the modern world, and the understanding of our place as part of nature has been lost (although recent movements are rediscovering that).


For these reasons, we think it is important to show the difference between the world that God has created and the world than man has made. And we strongly emphasis and live by the commandments that were given to us to be set a part from this world:


If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15:19


I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. John 17:14


Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. John 18:36


Of course, as I stated earlier, it is a complexed theology that may not be hashed out in easily in one conversation, but we are working on it :)

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5 years ago  ::  May 29, 2009 - 2:18AM #8
Pastorlisa
Posts: 15

Thank you for your response and I will try to address your questions here. You make some good points:


It never occured to me  that the monastic life could be of use to me, but I suppose if there was a monastary around that was open for people to come in and have some one to talk with, that would be cool. 


You know how insanely busy modern life is; so for me, fellowshipping works best when it is combined with a job that has to be done.  Like if a group did a big cooking project and everybody took home some meals for the freezer; or if your monestary had a green house and people could come start plants for their vegetable garden - or even have community gardens.  And if the work was done along side your monks, encouraging conversation could happen. 


This is actually one of our main goals, to have a garden not only for ourselves and to help us be a sustainable community but also for the community around us. And the men and women of our order take a pledge of charity and hospitality to any who need a place of sanctuary or a friendly ear to listen. It is our hope that we can have a prayer garden for peope to come and mediate, walk, pray, or just commune with nature. And community service is a major part of our way of life, in hopes that we can pull people together, both in our order and in the community to work together to help those in need.


I'd also think it would be great to see example of people living simply in this world.  So many of us would like to make that change but just don't know how.


Again I agree. We hope that our community will be that example to others of what simplicity, sustainability, peace, and harmony look like. Additionally, we accept non-residential members of our order who are trained to live that simple life of service wherever they may live.


A for a joining a monestary, even a non-residential one, I don't think I would while I still have family obligations.  But I might unofficially try to incorporate some of the life ways if I were exposed to the good example.


Just for the record, we accept members into our order who are single or married in fact we think it would be great if couples made that journey together, of course, we realize that the monastic life is not for everyone.


As for as having a church with no politics (if by that you mean internal power struggles), that's an ideal I hardly believe is possible, especially as a chruch grows older and gets more and diverse people.  There would have to be almost constant preaching on putting love first and servant leadership; as well as a heck of a lot of prayer. 


By this we mean that too many churches have been caught up in personal agendas, popularity contests, and fleeting trends instead of relying solely on the unchanging word of God to guide them as the foundations of their doctrine and to govern the church as the Bible dictates, not as man does. Thus, why we revert back to the non-Roman celtic tradition since we reject the authority and infalability of the Pope.


If you mean staying out of government politics, I think that would be great.


I see no reason why we should. Being a member of the church, or even our order does not strip you of your citizenship as our members have just as much right, even a duty, to vote as they are lead, after all, in the US are we the people not suppose to be the government?


I was looking at your profile and read your post about the girl drawing fairies.  I really don't think the Celts would agree with your answer, which also seemed a little harsh.


I will not go into this on this forum since the discussion in there but only to say that I am to be guided only by what the Bible says and teaches, not by anyone's opinion and I will hold that stance no matter how unpopular those Truths may be. And while I may seem a bit harsh at times (admittedly I let other discussions off of the forum get me a bit agitated at the post) I speak the Truth out of love. Would it not be harsher to know the truth, to see that someone was reaching for a deadly viper and to just stand silent? I am humble enough to admit that out of all of my virtues, patience is rarely one of them and this is an area that I am working on in my own quest.


I'm also curious how the Messianic part works into your church.   Are you a Jew?  Are you especially wanting born again Jews to join you?


The Messianic part comes from the fact that we still hold true to Torah and Keep the Feasts, etc. as the early church did and as Christ himself did. We shall never target the Jewish people for conversion for there is no need to do so, they are already serving God; however, we will certainly welcome Jewish believers among us as we will be open to all who walk in Truth and share our commitment.

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5 years ago  ::  May 29, 2009 - 7:33AM #9
mfjfarrell
Posts: 237

Dia annseo isteach!


God bless all here!


Greetings Lisa,


I looked at your revamped site, very good!  I'm not sure if you realize it but you explained yourselves in Orthodox style!  In their minds, God is beyond knowing, they can only tell you what He is not!  It looks like you are a bit more focused now on what you want... very good for you.  I'll leave you with and Irish blessing 'Bail o Dhia ar an obair!', May God bless your work!


From your response to Lillian I'd like to congratulate you on planning for a garden.  Nothing tastes better than fresh and its good to get 'down in the dirt' sometimes!  I do it often in Summer and Fall.


Please feel free to contact me if you feel you need any insights into historic/modern Celtic Christianity.  From your response and your site I realize the work you are doing is a blending of several traditions, not specifically a Celtic work.  Again, may God bless you and your work...


Slan


Marty


 

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5 years ago  ::  May 29, 2009 - 10:27AM #10
Liriodendron
Posts: 36

 


Hi Lisa.


I hope your monastery turns out like you hope.  It could be a beautiful thing.


 


Just a comment on these:


"By this we mean that too many churches have been caught up in personal agendas, popularity contests, and fleeting trends instead of relying solely on the unchanging word of God to guide them as the foundations of their doctrine and to govern the church as the Bible dictates, not as man does."


" I am to be guided only by what the Bible says and teaches, not by anyone's opinion and I will hold that stance no matter how unpopular those Truths may be."


What I worry about when someone is being so firm in the truth, is whether what they are holding to is real truth or to assumptions, especially when things start getting harsh.


My church had a preacher who decided that the Biblical way was for a church to be ruled by Elders not Deacons.  So he started forcing that change on us, and within 5 years we had lost 3/4 of our people - including genuinely good people, not just trouble makers.  At the end, I also was very close to leaving because the atmosphere was so depressing, but before I could, the pastor resigned.


My opinion about church government, is that while there are good examples set in the New Testament, it's not a "truth" we MUST follow.  Paul made it clear that there is a huge area of Christian freedom (guided by love) if a thing is not specifically forbidden.  Even the Jerusalem council agreed not to put a lot of rules on the gentile Christians.


So, if it IS a Biblical 'truth' that the New Testament pattern of church government must be followed, then our pastor was justified in spite of the damage to the church.  ...And that's what he felt: that he had to do the right thing no matter what. 


But if we have the freedom to chose how to run our churches, then he was very hurtful to force the elders on us.


That's why I think gentleness and taking time to make sure you understand the other person are more important that leaping to powerfully (ie harshly) defend the truth.  We all are capable of making mistakes in our interpretation of truth.


Looking back at my church situation, I see that, as much as I personally liked that pastor, perhaps he had a problem with people disagreeing with him and would tend to 'black ball' in some subtle way the people who criticized his plans.  That's what I think hurt us so bad. 


 


 

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