Bruno Barnhart’s Movement IV: The Global (Postmodern) Turn

I loved this chapter!—particularly the way it weaves together and synthesizes the voices of Teilhard de Chardin, Ewert Cousins, and Karl Rahner—each of them pointing in their own way (planetization, a 2nd Axial age, and the "world church") to a truly universal, incarnate, global understanding of Christian spirituality.  Wow!  I’ll share a few words by way of summary here, before our Zoom book study group meets this Friday… but know that they're rushed and inadequate to the wonders Fr. Bruno actually unfolds in these final pages. In this fourth movement, Fr. Bruno explores Teilhard’s vision of a coming human unity: in Teilhard’s words, “there is only one way in which the tide can flow: the way of ever-increasing unification”… the present “social in-folding” is simply an extension of the “process of cosmic in-folding which gave birth to the first cell and the first thought on earth.”  Barnhart points to the ways in which large scale human tragedies and disasters (the two World Wars, for example) “rather than fracturing and dispersing humanity, have forced it more tightly together.”  We can only hope our current climate crisis will do the same.  There is an insistence here that there is no ultimate going

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A Virtual Holy Week Retreat: The Call and The Response

It was an out-of-the-box idea, but one that I thought was worth trying—a virtual Holy Week retreat. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought this would interest so many—and from all over the world. Providing three recordings each day as well as a Zoom gathering that broke participants up into small groups, this online program provided choices for participants based on their needs and their time availability. This successful first run will be followed by future programs—even Wisdom Schools—online. Also, this Holy Week program will return next year and will be expanded into a full Lenten retreat. Stay tuned! Rather than try to explain the intricacies of the week, let me instead share some of the results. Bill and Sarah said, "Our journey through Holy Week with you was breathtaking, even from the Imaginal. The day before the week began, I was in the car, listening to Bill Bryson’s account of climbing Mt. Washington, including his description of emerging at the summit, exhausted, to find all the auto-road tourists. The very next day I’m back on Mt. Washington with you!  "There is so much to comment on. I was going to urge that you create more of these

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No Question: A Pilgrimage to India with Rev. Matthew Wright and Br. Aidan Owen, OHC

Thousands of questions are silenced as if dissolved. There are neither doctrines nor heresies. The possibilities are endless, [living] creatively in me. ~ Paul Klee, 1916   Chennai, the city we used to call Madras, splays itself along the southeastern edge of India, fully exposed to the surging foam of the Bay of Bengal. We arrived on the festival of Pongal, lights whirling, colours strewn, bonfires glowing in the night forests like perforations to the earth’s inner core. India. Massive, effervescing, filled with a life energy that cannot be easily quieted. The first day some of us picked our way across hot sand to the shore where cows were not altogether happy about their baths in the sucking waves, ablutions to give festal thanks for the growing season’s first fruits.   Each of us had our reasons to join Rev. Matthew Wright and Br. Aidan Owen, OHC, on this pilgrimage to the land of St. Thomas, Ramana Maharshi, and Fr. Bede Griffiths. There in Tamil Nadu, South India, we would sit before Thomas’s tomb and climb into the cave where the apostle lived and taught; we would rest at Saccidananda ashram, devoted to inter-religious expressions of Advaita Hinduism and Christianity;

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Not a mistake. Not a disaster. Not over: Bruno Barnhart on “Movement III: The Western Turn” in The Future of Wisdom

Not a mistake. Not a disaster. Not over. This summarizes my reflection on Bruno’s analysis of the Western Turn in the re-emergence of Christian Wisdom in our time. I begin by noting that for those of us who are not scholars or academics, or who are old enough to have forgotten most of what we learned in our Western Civilization courses, the term “modern” calls up notions not much longer ago than the last hundred years or so: the age of automobiles and airplanes; of instant and constant communication through radio and television, email and internet; of quarks and quanta and other things we don’t really understand. That observation is perhaps a commentary on what is often perceived as the audaciously arrogant character of the West. But Bruno situates the modern Western turn as beginning nearly a thousand years ago, and he sees within that millennium the radical unfolding of the Christ-event in the arc of history of Western civilization. More particularly, it is precisely in, rather than in spite of, the predominantly horizontal-axis trajectory of that history, that he finds the deepening descent of the incarnation—of God coming into this world in ever-wider immanence and universality. He calls out

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Encountering the Heart of Silence: A Conversation with Cynthia Bourgeault in Two Parts

When people gather in silence, a deeper kind of collective, synergistic, numinous knowing unfolds. And that’s the only knowing that’s worth a damn, particularly when you’re working with the infinite.     ~ Cynthia Bourgeault On February 25, 2019 Cynthia was interviewed for a podcast on the Encountering Silence website, hosted by Carl McColman with Cassidy Hall and Kevin Johnson. These recording are available in two parts, as Episodes 58 and 59: Encountering the Heart of Silence: A Conversation with Cynthia Bourgeault (Parts One and Two). You will find all the links to these podcasts at the end of this post. All thanks to Cynthia and to the folks at Encountering Silence for this delightful interview! Encountering Silence describes the interview in this way: “Cynthia shares how her love for silence originated with her early education in Quaker schools, where she recognized silence as a “liturgical expression and mode of divine communion.” There she discovered silence not merely as the absence of noise, but as a sacred container of presence. For her, after a long meandering journey from Christian Science to Episcopal ordination, she became (in her words) a “Trappist junkie” as she began to study centering prayer with Fr. Thomas

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