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3 years ago  ::  Dec 02, 2011 - 4:33PM #1
Emersonbernard
Posts: 122
I recently stumbled across this forum - I had no idea it existed. It looks, however, that the last post was months ago, so I wonder if it's still active. Hopefully so, because I'm have a few questions:

1) I was raised Roman Catholic, but I've been a happy Episcopalian/Anglican for several years now. I love Anglican spirituality, primarily because of the influence of both Eastern Orthodox and Celtic Christianity on its outlook and practice. Yes, Anglicanism has roots in the Roman Church, and as such, also bears its mark to some degree. But, in my experience, Anglicanism also leans heavily towards Orthodox theosis and Celtic immanence, tolerance and joyfulness.

2) Can someone please compare/contrast Celtic Christianity and Creation Spirituality (as elaborated by Matthew Fox)? I see similarities between the two.

3) To what extent has Benedictine spirituality been influenced by Celtic spirituality?

4) From what I've read of other posts here, I also see similarities between Celtic Christianity and Vedanta - about the nature of God, humanity and Nature. Any comments?

Thanks a bunch! My name is Shane, by the way.
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2011 - 11:25AM #2
mfjfarrell
Posts: 237

Dia anseo isteach!


God to all here!


Greetings Shane,


And welcome to our little Celtic Corner of Beliefnet. It does get quiet here at times but we are as active as interest arises.  As for your Anglican background founded in Roman Catholicism, you are right but look a little further back in time.  I was the Celtic missionaries of Ireland who brought their brand of Christianity to the North of the UK.  The South was the mission field of the Roman Church.  Eventually, after a conference in Whitby, the Celts were forced to succumb to the Roman way or lose any of their lands and properties. Such is the history of politics in religion!!  Had the Celts been permitted to continue their form of Christianity, the world would be a different place now. 


At one time the whole of Christianity held to the Orthodox way of theology, but as differences arose, the West (Rome) split off and began doing their own things.  While the Celts held with the Eastern ideas, they differed as well from them in a few areas, especially in regards to women. So, the Celts tend to be a little 'unique' in their beliefs and mentality.  We seek harmony with God's creation because we don't accept 'the fall' concept of corruption.  Seeing Christ in others was the real 'good news' and we still hold to that!


Matthew Fox has been brought up a few times either here or other discussion groups to which I belong, but unfortunately I'm no expert on him! Perhaps that's something you can do as you study and learn CC.  Please feel free to share it here for all who care to learn!


Others have also brought up similar foundations for the native Celtic (pagan) beliefs and the use of Druids with the theology behind the early Hindu religion.  Personally, I think if you go back far enough in time, it was a common belief in the glory and beauty of nature and a sense that 'someone' was behind it all that laid the foundations for all the successive religions.  As Celts, we hold there are 2 sacred Scriptures, Creation was the first revelation of God's goodness, later He put it plainly into a book, the Bible!


Again, let me thank you for your interest in CC.  I'm firmly convinced that CC is a calling for those who God plans to lead on a journey of discovery.  I will wish you the best on that journey and offer myself and this site as a means of discussing the things you have discovered.


Slan,


Marty

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2011 - 1:08PM #3
Emersonbernard
Posts: 122

Marty,


Thank you so much for your reply. I was hoping I wouldn't have to wait a couple months for a response.Smile


You mentioned that the Celtic Christians had a different attitude towards women. I assume you meant they treated women more equally, allowing them to serve in some positions of leadership. That's one the things I love about my own tradition - The Episcopal Church, where women serve as deacons, priests and bishops. In fact, our current Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, is the first female primate in the Anglican Communion.


Speaking of Creation Spirituality, I've posted the 12 Principles, as elucidated by Matthew Fox. I'd be interested in your comments/thoughts.


1. The universe is fundamentally a blessing.
Our relationship with the Universe fills us with awe.

2. In Creation, God is both immanent and transcendent. This is panentheism which is not theism (God out there) and not atheism (no God anywhere).
We experience that the Divine is in all things and all things are in the Divine.

3. God is as much Mother as Father, as much Child as Parent, as much God in mystery as the God in history, as much beyond all words and images as in all forms and beings.
We are liberated from the need to cling to God in one form or one literal name.

4. In our lives, it is through the work of spiritual practice that we find our deep and true selves.
Through the arts of meditation and silence we cultivate a clarity of mind and move beyond fear into compassion and community.

5. Our inner work can be understood as a four-fold journey involving:
- awe, delight, amazement (known as the Via Positiva)
- uncertainty, darkness, suffering, letting go (Via Negativa)
- birthing, creativity, passion (Via Creativa)
- justice, healing, celebration (Via Transformativa)

We weave through these paths like a spiral danced, not a ladder climbed.

6. Every one of us is a mystic.
We can enter the mystical as much through beauty (Via Positiva) as through contemplation and suffering (Via Negativa). We are born full of wonder and can recover it at any age.

7. Every one of us is an artist.
Whatever the expression of our creativity, it is our prayer and praise (Via Creativa).

8. Every one of us is a prophet.
Our prophetic work is to interfere with all forms of injustice and that which interrupts authentic life (Via Transformativa).

9. Diversity is the nature of the Universe. We rejoice in and courageously honor the rich diversity within the Cosmos and expressed among individuals and across multiple cultures, religions and ancestral traditions.

10. The basic work of God is compassion and we, who are all original blessings and sons and daughters of the Divine, are called to compassion.
We acknowledge our shared interdependence; we rejoice at one another's joys and grieve at one another's sorrows and labor to heal the causes of those sorrows.

11. There are many wells of faith and knowledge drawing from one underground river of Divine wisdom. The practice of honoring, learning and celebrating the wisdom collected from these wells is Deep Ecumenism.
We respect and embrace the wisdom and oneness that arises from the diverse wells of all the sacred traditions of the world.

12. Ecological justice is essential for the sustainability of life on Earth.
Ecology is the local expression of cosmology and so we commit to live in light of this value: to pass on the beauty and health of Creation to future generations.


I must say that these principles, coupled with what I've learned about Celtic Christianity and Eastern Orthodox theosis, have shown me a much more attractive and reasonable Christian Faith than what is so prominently represented in the West. In fact, if it weren't for Celtic Christianity, Anglicanism, and Creation Spirituality, it would be hard for me to call myself Christian.


Anyway, I've been a student of comparative religion and spirituality since I was 12 years old. That's over 30 years. It is a subject that has always fascinated me, so I look forward to learning much more about Celtic Christianity and how to incorporate its unique way of following Jesus into my own spiritual practice.


Shane

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2011 - 8:22PM #4
mfjfarrell
Posts: 237

Greetings Shane,


You wrote "allowing them to serve" which gave me a little chuckle!  The Celtic women I have encountered in my upbringing, never asked for permission!! (hehehe) They followed their hearts as the Lord lead them and NO ONE had better get in their way! 


As for the statements of Matthew Fox, its interesting for me to finally read them since they have been used by other Celtic authors of this modern age. I can concur with everything he presents in them but I'll add that there is more!  For now, we can discuss these if you like.  I'd recommend to you John O'Donohue's 'Anam Cara' and J.Philip Newell's 'Listening for the Heartbeat of God' if you would care to hear from some excellent author's within CC.  There are many others but these two are the most prominent.


You have mentioned a few times the Orthodox doctrine of 'theosis', but while it has been part of the Early Church's teachings (including western christianity) it has been renamed in the west as 'sanctification'. I came across this in my years both as a Catholic and a Pentecostal.  As a Celt now, I can see it is the only way we can have true fellowship with God, on HIS terms! It is the process of becoming god-like so that we may join in the the fellowship of the Trinity. Is that your understanding of its meaning?


Again, if you have any topics for discussion please bring them to us here for proper consideration.  It may take a while for others to join in since this is a new topic and only has the 2 of us tagging it so far!  Hopefully, others will join us as time goes on. Thanks again for joining us here...


Marty

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2011 - 10:48AM #5
Emersonbernard
Posts: 122

Marty,


So sorry for my delay in responding to your last post. T'is the season - for chaos.


You'll be happy to know that I've ordered my copy of "Listening for the Heartbeat of God", and it should arrive in the mail tomorrow. I've also ordered a new Anglican rosary to replace the one I lost a few weeks ago. It's exactly the same as my previous one, except I replaced the San Damiano cross with a traditional Celtic cross. Smile


Regarding my idea of "theosis", here's an explanation by Eastern Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware:


Definition of Theosis
literally, the condition or the state of deity; also, the deification of man




"...while God's inner essence is forever beyond our comprehension, His energies, grace, life and power fill the whole universe, and are directly accessible to us...When Orthodox [Christians] speak of the divine energies, they do not mean by this an emanation from God, an intermediary between God and man, or a thing or gift that God bestows. On the contrary, the energies are God Himself in His activity and self-manifestation. When a man knows or participates in the divine energies, he truly knows or particpates in God Himself, so far as this is possible for a created being...we are able to affirm the possibility of a direct or mystical union betweeen man and God - what the Greek Fathers term the theosis of man, his deification...There is union, but not fusion or confusion. Although oned with the divine, man still remains man; he is not swallowed up or annihilated, but between him and God there continues to exist an I-Thou relationship of person to person."


I also prefer the Orthodox approach to Man's nature, as opposed to the Augustinian view of corruption. As I understand it, Christ came not as a sacrifice to atone for Man's original sin and to assuage God's anger, but to heal and reconcile Man with God. Jesus is a Divine Physician who heals the soul and restores life; Man's sin is more the result of sickness and ignorance rather than corruption.


Anyway, that's how I understand it.


 

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2011 - 11:31AM #6
Emersonbernard
Posts: 122

Marty,


Just now ran across this quote and thought it sounded pertinent:


Orthodox Christians do not have the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, for in their mind there was no need for Mary to be conceived without the stain of original sin, since original sin does not exist. The Orthodox and the Celts seem to be on the same side of this debate. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Orthodox retained an understanding of deification, while the western church watered it down to the moralistic concept of sanctification.


This seems to differentiate between the concepts of theosis and sanctification.


By the way, I found it here: anamchara.com/2010/03/02/pelagius-august...


Shane

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2011 - 12:22PM #7
mfjfarrell
Posts: 237

Dia anseo isteach!


God to all here!


Hey Shane,


Yes! Tis the season for chaos sometimes too! But its all worth the effort in the end!!


If you go back into the time of the Early Church there was no Eastern / Western theology.  The beliefs were all held in common, hence, they Celts, as part of the Early Church, held to theosis as you described it previously.  What did differ back then was the use of the languages for services, Greek / Latin.  And again, that produced some understandings that while slightly different from each other were definitely tolerated by both portions of the failing Roman Empire.  Christians were just Christians then, as opposed to being pagans.  There were 5 seats of governing, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople and Rome.  All the bishops of the places were held in common esteem without one ruling over any others.  The Church was young then and still struggling with heresies and orthodoxies but it was unified in its beliefs.


As I'm sure you know, later Rome began to assume supremacy over the other sites and thus the schism began long before it happened in the 11th Century.  There was a problem for the Church however in the West, the people were accepting Christ and living according to the 'good news' they had been given.  However, Church attendance and therefore contributions were diminishing.  Rome wanted a way to get people to be regular attenders to their services.  The Bishop of Rome asked Augustine to help with this problem.  Augustine, a former agnostic (body is corrupt), came up with the idea of 'original sin' and that made the Church the sole dispenser of 'sanctifying grace' so people could hold onto their salvation with regular attendance.  Pelagius (St Morgan of Wales) opposed him on this repeatedly and eventually lost due to some political wranglings.  He was eventually branded a heretic and the Celts were warned not to follow his 'Pelagianism' under pain of excommunication.  The East never accepted this doctrine either but simple saw Rome as only having a slightly different version of the gospel.


As for the Celts, they were forced to either submit or leave.  Most remained but kept the true gospel within their own private beliefs.  The unique aspect of CC is that it is not dependent upon a church building for survival, it was always the religion of the people.  That's how the original Celts saw their pagan worship, all around them, and that was carried over into CC to this day.  Its a matter of the heart, not a matter of membership!!  Yet the depth of understanding is so much more vast and deeper than anything I had learned as a Pentecostal Elder in my church!!  But that's for another time...


I'm glad you are joining us on your Journey of Discovery, please consider this a safe place to ask the thorny or 'foolish' questions that my cross your mind.  Or, if you discover something worth sharing, please, bless us with it as well!  Again, thanks for being part of our little discussion group...


Slan,


Marty

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