Friday, September 02, 2005

spirituality of regeneration

While at Greenbelt I went to hear a guy called Alastair McIntosh. I'd first read about this guy in the writings of George Monbiot. Alastair's talk was entitled "Four Quartets and the Spirituality of Regeneration. Now not being a literary type I didn't realise what the Four Quartets were (I now know they're written by T.S.Eliot), but I did/do have an interest in community regeneration.

The session was really good, Alastair interspersed readings of Eliot's poetry with his own thoughts, some of which I imagine are included in his much praised book, Soil and Soul. The notes I took are a bit random, they don't necessarily flow, but within them I think are some interesting, maybe even helpful thoughts, perhaps just beginnings of thoughts....

Jung - we can't resolve our neuroses, we just outgrow them.

When involved in any kind of social activism, we must be in touch with the Godhead, or we will become burnt out.

Solidarity - causes us to question our spirituality, to reconnect, remembering our history, revision of the current situation, reclaim that which is needed to bring about regeneration.

This is not something that is imaginary, rather it is imaginal - we are on the threshold, a visional realm.

As we talk about community regeneration we are not talking about pantheism (God is nature), rather we are talking about Panentheism (God being present in nature Psalm 104, John 1).

Three stages of life as a whole, as well as the life of an activist.
1. Departure - the start of the journey
2. Initiation - stormy waters, alone, in darkness. Completed when the 'ego' falls into place. Facing our shadow side (Jung). Engaging with the powers (Walter Wink).
3. Return to the community, enriched, bringing wisdom.

In both life, and activism, it is not a question of whether our work fails or not, rather, we must remain faithful to our destiny, our vocation, our calling from God.

Faith is to do with an attitude to life, not just creeds and dogmas. All things leading to a deeper revelation from God.

The sickness that has led to the disintegration of society is fundamentally spiritual.

We must lose everything so that all that remains is our spiritual self.

Church - a trellis upon which the vine of life can grow towards the light, NOT a cage.
We must liberate it.

Geographical communities as against communities of interest (and possibly virtual communities - though this might have been my thought as against his words) - meeting places, embodied, a sense of belonging.

Parish/place/community - where there is a sense of belonging, which leads to a sense of identity, which leads to a sense of vision, which leads to a sense of responsibility, which leads to a sense of belonging, and so on.....

To be real humans once more, we must re member, re vision, re claim

There are those who fear that in community, the individuals will be washed away. But in reality, the opposite is the case. It is only in a community, one with another, that we discover who we really our. Jesus taught us to pray "Our Father..." not "My Father..."


moog said...

This sounds like it was an interesting talk. Then I spotted that you live in Sheffield and are a chesterfield fan - just like me!

Annie Porthouse said...

wow - a gr8 write-up of what sounds like a gr8 session! if i'd known this was a guy the great G.Monbiot had given a mention then i would have been there like a shot, being quite a monbiot fan myself.
i picked up some stuff from Christian Ecology Link at GB (as i am v into the 'generous' GB project) and it said much the same type of thing, espec the bit about not viewing nature AS God, but as made by God, etc.
Anyway, thx 4 these notes, and also those gr8 ones re the blogging session (which i also missed).
could someone please ask the GB management to make GB last the whole of August next year, so i can go to everything i want to go to!

Richard Passmore said...

Good post where Is the three stages of the activists life from I would like to cite it

Phil Goodacre said...


I'm not entirely sure where the 3 stages of activist life is from. It may well be somewhere in his book, but I've yet to really get stuck into it. I'll let you know if/when I find out.