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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A MacCafe in Chiangmai

I am sitting in a MacCafe in Chiangmai, Thailand - but not a MacCafe as we know it! This one is part of a Mac computer shop! It is just across the road from the retreat centre Seven Fountains where I am for three weeks currently helping to run a ten day retreat for a group of 30 people from around Asia. I wish I could add photos but I am doing this from my iPad and the photos are on my camera.

So this isn't a very interesting Blog! But it feels fun to be blogging with free WiFi in a MacCafe!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"I would be glad..."

This Kabir poem tickled my fancy this morning - though more seriously it has an excellent point I want to remember!

You are sitting in a wagon being
drawn by a horse
whose reins 
you hold.

There are two inside of you 
who can steer.

Though most never hand the reins to Me
so they go from place to place the 
best they can, though
rarely happy.

And rarely does their whole body laugh
feeling God's poke
in the 

If you feel tired, dear,
my shoulder is soft,
I'd be glad to steer 

from Love Poems from God - Daniel Ladinsky

Friday, October 12, 2012

Contemplation as revolutionary

Some of you may know about the Spiritual Growth Ministries programme for the formation of spiritual directors. (If not check it out here.) In an email I received today in relation to this programme was the following quote from Archbishop Rowan Williams:

“… contemplation is very far from being just one kind of thing that Christians do:  it is the key to prayer, liturgy, art and ethics, the key to the essence of a renewed humanity that is capable of seeing the world and other subjects in the world with freedom – freedom from self-oriented, acquisitive habits and the distorted understanding that comes from them. To put it boldly, contemplation is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and our advertising culture and our chaotic and unexamined emotions encourage us to inhabit.  To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly. It is a deeply revolutionary matter.”

I have great respect for Rowan Williams and his writing and preaching. Synchronistically he has been brought to my attention twice today! Someone read me a section of NT Wright's book Virtue Reborn where some years ago Rowan Williams was able to quietly defuse a strident protest group who broke into a crowded Cathedral service. Wright's observation was that Rowan Williams had so honed his character through regular spiritual practices that when a moment of crisis occurred he instinctively knew what to do. I expect that one of Williams's well honed practices was, and is, that of contemplation.