Hildegard of Bingen and Jesus on Living a Green Life  by Mark Longhurst

Hildegard of Bingen and Jesus on Living a Green Life by Mark Longhurst

Hildegard’s genius is to introduce the language of the living natural world into the often fixed corridors of religion, so that God, the world, and humanity are never unchanging, but always emerging, always sprouting seeds of new possibilities, always evolving, always greening.

There’s a concept in particular that ebbs and flows throughout Hildegard’s writings: greenness, or, in Latin, viriditas….it sums up the essence of Hildegard’s theology, because for Hildegard, the whole universe is “green.” It’s alive, ecological, more of a verb than a noun. The whole universe is, as it were, pulsing with divine essence, sustained by Spirit’s evolving life-energy. God and the universe are greening.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Spoke in Hitler’s Wheel?..Roger E. Olson

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Spoke in Hitler’s Wheel?..Roger E. Olson

Has the Church merely to gather up those whom the wheel has crushed or has she to prevent the wheel from crushing them?”

In the chapter entitled “’Personal’ and ‘Real’ Ethos” Bonhoeffer debates another German Christian ethicist named Otto Dilschneider who, in Die evangelische Tat (1940) argued that “Protestant ethics is concerned with man’s personality alone.” (316) In contrast and contradiction Bonhoeffer responded with several rhetorical questions put to Dilschneider and those who agreed with him. (Nobody knows the exact date of this essay by Bonhoeffer but it had to be between 1940 and 1944.) Here is Bonhoeffer’s response:

“The question here is whether within the field of Christian ethics any assertions may be made with regard to worldly institutions and conditions, e.g., the state, economics or science, i.e., whether Christian ethics has an interest in worldly institutions and conditions or whether these things fall within ‘the zone of the demands of ethical imperatives.’ In other words, is it the Church’s sole task to practice love and charity within the given worldly institutions, i.e., to inspire these institutions so far as possible with a new outlook, to mitigate hardships, to care for the victims of these institutions, and to establish a new order of her own within the congregation? Or is the Church charged with a mission towards the given worldly orders themselves, a mission of correction, improvement, etc., a mission to work towards a new worldly order? Has the Church merely to gather up those whom the wheel has crushed or has she to prevent the wheel from crushing them?” (316-317) (Italics added.)

read full Pathos article at www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2019/08/dietrich-bonhoeffer-a-spoke-in-hitlers-wheel/

Prison reformer Sr. Helen Prejean’s book - ‘River of Fire’ - review by Daniel P. Horan

Prison reformer Sr. Helen Prejean’s book - ‘River of Fire’ - review by Daniel P. Horan

Sr. Helen Prejean is known the world over for her commitment to social justice, particularly for her ministry to and advocacy on behalf of those incarcerated and sentenced to die. Her ministry has garnered attention and has helped to shape public sentiment about the injustice of the death penalty, especially among Catholics. But how did she become filled with that prophetic fire and righteous passion for which she is known today?

Her new memoir, River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey, chronicles the path from pre-conciliar nun to modern-day voice of conscience. This book (her third) ends where her first, Dead Man Walking, begins. It is the story behind the story — how the devout schoolteacher and aspiring mystic grew into her vocation, which took her behind bars and into the world of America’s inhumane pseudo-justice system in order to bring the compassionate face of Christ to those least sympathetic in our society.

Reading the book, I was reminded of the famous passage in the Letter of James, which tells us starkly that: “faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). I believe this is the constant refrain of Sister Helen’s story.

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Interspiritual Mysticism - Richard Rohr - Center for Action and Contemplation - reflects on the work of Dom Bede Griffiths

Interspiritual Mysticism - Richard Rohr - Center for Action and Contemplation - reflects on the work of Dom Bede Griffiths

A meditation for the Feast of the Transfiguration - Tuesday, August 6, 2019 Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima

Dom Bede Griffiths (1906–1993) was born in Britain and lived the latter decades of his life in India. Some of our Living School students have been deeply moved by studying his work which sought to make connections between Christianity and Hinduism. It has not diminished but rather expanded their faith. Robert Ellsberg describes Griffiths’ journey to God through both Western and Eastern spirituality:

In his old age [Griffiths] looked every bit the part of an Indian holy man—with long beard, flowing white hair, and saffron robe. But while he felt equally at home in the [Hindu] Vedas and Upanishads as in the Christian Scriptures, he remained thoroughly rooted in the church. He had come to the point where all religions, indeed all creation, spoke to him of Christ. . . . [A theme I explore in my book The Universal Christ.]

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Maggie Fergusson writing in The Tablet comments on Richard Holloway’s loss of faith

Maggie Fergusson writing in The Tablet comments on Richard Holloway’s loss of faith

Missing God: the former bishop who lost his faith still hears the faint whisper of the transcendent

Missing God: the former bishop who lost his faith still hears the faint whisper of the transcendent

If you are married to a book dealer, you try to keep your shelves as clear as ­possible, holding on only to those ­volumes you feel you can hardly live without. One such, for me, has been Richard Holloway’s Leaving Alexandria, published in 2012, and tracing his development from a boy who hoped to devote his life to God, to his disenchantment with a Church whose rules seemed to him not just wrong-headed but cruel, and his consequent resignation as Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church in 2000.

What Holloway conveys is not a progression from faith to triumphal, Dawkins-style ­atheism, but a painful sense of failure and regret: he no longer believes in God, yet he misses him, and has let him down. This is the most plangent and thought-provoking memoir I have ever read.

Holloway is now 85, tall, courteous and warm, his mind still sharp. He is working on a book called Stories We Tell Ourselves, “propelled by a kind of fatigue at the way religion and politics are constantly just shouting at each other, and a failure to admit that our ideas are intrinsically varied and ­unsettlable – so why can’t we live with that gorgeous variety? Unless our stories make us cruel and violent, why can’t we just tell them?” He’s due to deliver to his publisher, Canongate, next April, and in the meantime he’s happy to look back and chat about Leaving Alexandria.

I’ve never, I tell him, seen a book get more rapturous reviews. But, for Holloway, what were most poignant were the 500-odd letters he received from priests – some Catholics, some bishops – telling him that this was “their story. That’s the most moving thing about being a writer – getting letters from people who feel less lonely for having read you.” He has, he says, “a strong affection for broken priests”.

“An autobiography,” Holloway says, “can be quite self-serving. Whereas a memoir is a piece of self-discovery – a piece of personal archaeology, self-examination, confession if you like. It’s a kind of delving into one’s own story to try to make sense of it, because I think – and maybe this is more true of men than women – a lot of us don’t really know ourselves. And it would be a tragedy to die not knowing who you are.”

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