john and olive drane are here in adelaide, and last week we hosted a two day session for ministers. it was a great couple of days, and far too short for the range of material that they opened up.
day #1 was on spirituality, and day #2 on culture. although we asked them to draw on their books, they brought a much more personal touch to the whole thing.
I am drawn to their engagement with 'new age' spirituality, mainly because of their broad analysis. there's no question that contemporary spiritualities are influenced by the range of new age spiritualities, and the recent australian research seems to confirm this.
as usual I was refreshed by hearing UK rather than US voices, and at the same time I was recognising points at which Aussie culture is more secular, cynical and detached.
what stands out from the two days?
- the importance of people experimenting with spirituality through experience
- the strong comnnection with ecology, the natural world, the sensory
- the centrality of symbols or talismans (to use Bandy's term) and how these are imbued with meaning
- the challenge for Australians to include the land and its original inhabitants in our spirituality, as david tacey said a while ago
- starting with beauty and blessing, not with guilt (however, it seems to me that brokenness and beauty often go together)
- the value of hospitality - welcome, food, community
- exploring embodied spirituality
I could say a lot more, suffice to say that it resonated with me on lots of ways.
it was nice to be able to tell them that I'd met their son and daughter-in-law in manchester, and to chat about our mutual friend steve.
thanks to tabor college for bringing the drane's out here.