Note Taking on Julian of Norwich pt5

It was suggested that where Julian is positive about curiosity, Thomas Aquinas wasn’t (I think this thought does not ring true and needs a lot more work on it to justify it).  If one can’t see the Summa as an exercise in curiosity from one of the greatest minds ever to exist in the universe, then I don’t know what to say!

Julian:  “Fullness of joy is to see God in everything.”

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Note Taking on Julian of Norwich pt4

Marjorie Kempe was a contemporary of Julian and visited her and wrote to her.

In one letter Marjorie laments at the end of a thought about sin:  “Alas that I ever did sin. It is full merry in heaven.”

This is insightful because of the way this perspective compares with Julian.

Julian said there are Three Knowledges:

  1. To know God
  2. To know ourselves (that we are through Him in nature and grace).
  3. To know our sin and weakness

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Note Taking on Julian of Norwich pt3

Julian of Norwich (1342-1430)  ‘Love was His meaning’

The metaphors flood the imagination as Julian describes the blood flowing/pouring from Christ’s head as He hung on the Cross.

Beads; Herring scales; Rain drops.

What are we to make of this?

Does Julian revel or even enjoy seeing/describing this event?

Julian asks a question after reflection, that is meant to take one by surprise:  ‘What is sin?’

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Monkey Mind

Monkey Mind

Does your mind leap from one thing to another?

Has your mind made yet another leap since you started reading?

Have you often found yourself restless in prayer?

Not quite like going cold-turkey from a busy life, but not far off either!

 

Is it a triumph when concentration exceeds 20 seconds?

Do the thoughts of what needs doing cruise through your mind like an F1 racing car?

Or do they meandre like a cow slowly chewing the cud?

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Note Taking on Julian of Norwich pt2

Julian of Norwich (1342-1430)  ‘Love was His meaning’

Julian of Norwich has a shorter and a longer text, written 20 years apart.

These texts cover both the cognitive (ideas) and the visual (pictorial), showing she doesn’t just “paint” a picture, she develops its meaning.

She prayed for three graces:

  1. To relive the Passion of Christ
  2. For bodily graces
  3. To receive three wounds (not necessarily bodily, but spiritual).
      1. Contrition
      2. Purposefulness
      3. Compassion

She gets sick aged 30 and genuinely believes that she will die…  When her priest comes in, she sees “the light of the crucifix for all mankind.”

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Note Taking on Julian of Norwich pt1

Note Taking on Julian of Norwich pt1

Julian of Norwich (1342-1430)  ‘Love was His meaning’

Three encounters:

  1. With myself: Insightful and integrated encounter
  2. God:  The holiness beyond me and my availability to God
  3. Julian of Norwich:
    • Childhood in bustling city devastated by the ‘The Great Pestilence’ – so familiar with death
    • Visions were received and processed over 20 year period.

Pastoral ministry is not “helping people”, but attending to what matters most to people.

 

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Oi, Ricky, No!

Oi, Ricky, No!

I recently had a brief chat with a chap about “religion” – which even though I am a church pastor, doesn’t happen very often!  Not like this anyway.

In the course of the conversation we talked about a theological book I was carrying, and he commented that the book will have “religious bias”, and that, by implication, could not really be trusted.

Of course my thought-reply was immediate:  “If by “bias” you mean an unthinking and pre-determined approach of coming to, and understanding, truth, then No.  But if you mean by “bias” that I am seeking truth and understanding through the lens of Christian Theology, a discipline that implodes if without internal and external integrity and disciplines, then Yes.”

Of course, the underlying assumption, as I saw it, was that Christian books of theology are naively enslaved to a bronze-age superstitious worldview, but still seek to peddle their wares to unsuspecting passersby, since everyone knows that science (more accurately, scientism, or “scientistic epistemology”) has put to death once and for all the myth of religion, or more specifically, the myth of Christianity.

Then my friendly interlocutor mentioned something Ricky Gervais had said in a US TV interview a few years ago.  I’ve listened to it and seen it on YouTube a couple of times, and each time I am staggered at how pleasant and wise popular atheist sloganeering sounds, every phrase met with the wide-eyed support and cheering and clapping of gladiatorial spectators witnessing the death of a prize-winning fighter.  Only this time, it is the wise Ricky putting to death the mythical monster that is Christianity.  It reminded me of the marvellous Mark Twain, who wrote in Volume 1 of his Autobiography, “These poor fellows furnish a “comic” performance which is so humble, and poor and pitiful, and childish, and asinine, and inadequate that it makes a person ashamed of the human race. Ah, their timorous dances – and their timorous antics – and their shamefaced attempts at funny grimacing – and their cockney songs and jokes – they touch you, they pain you, they fill you with pity, they make you cry…. London loves them; London has a warm big heart, and there is room and a welcome in it for all the misappreciated refuse of creation.”

Sadly, it is nothing but the poor and pitiful, the childish and asinine quality of the popular new-atheist movement in our day that is wildly unwild, one could say tame.      G. K. Chesterton did:  “It is not the wild ideals which wreck the practical world; it is the tame ideals.”  Is this shallow debate wrecking the world?  Yep.

So what did Ricky say?

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