Saturday, 27 April 2013

Who ticks your box?

I was flipping through the old Church Crimes on the train home and I read a wee article reminding us that this year it's the 50th anniversary of the publication of "Honest to God".  It reminded me that Bishop John Robinson was much influenced in his thinking by Tillich, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer, the cutting edge theologians of the days of his formation in Cambridge.  My theology was formed by being introduced to Karl Barth at University.  However, equally significant was my encounter with C S Lewis and my discovery of a variety of different "spiritual writers" - St John of the Cross, Ignatian writers, Martin Thornton and the Rule of St Benedict.  Perhaps my temperament naturally inclines to a more structured and dogmatic outlook, although the encounter with darkness and a profound sense than mystery rather than logical system are central.  But I think part of the attraction was a willingness to engage with the world.  Barth was anti-Nazi, Lewis experience both the horror of the trenches and the pain of bereavement.  John of the Cross was imprisoned for his views, Ignatius suffered a disabling injury at Pampalona.  Perhaps what made me engage with a thinker was their engagement with reality, even as I sometimes ran away from that.

Engaging with reality requires a level of honesty that I always find impressive.  Even if the person has human flaws, that is always a quality I find impressive.  Of course some use honesty as an excuse for being plain blasted rude.  Spiritual honesty is a gift I value.  Who floats your boat in terms of theology and spirituality?  And why?

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