Monday, 1 August 2016

Thoughts of a traveler

Like every person and part of creation I am on a journey some of which is behind me some ahead and today each step is a new experience.  Part of my journey has been an exploration of Celtic spirituality and more particularly the “Celtic Church”; I have however reached the conclusion that the Celtic Church never existed

It’s ok though I am not going mad or ignoring evidence; it’s just that I don’t see a church in the sense we think of today.  Over the last 1500 years “church” has become an organisation centralised around a leadership structure or set of doctrines, the Celtic church however seems to be more fluid without either.  Leadership seems more organic and relational crossing geographical barriers and doctrine whilst agreeing on basics such as the trinity was less “worked out” and analytical but instead more mystical; we believe because we accept not because we understand.

In part this reflects the history not only of the Celtic church but the wider church and world around it.  Read early church history and you will find not only a wide variety of belief and debate about the minutiae of “doctrine” but also the lack of an agreed “canon” of scripture.  Each congregation seemed free to believe and follow a teacher (often one local to them) but not prescriptively; each could (and did) accept certain books as scripture and others not .  This changed with the era of the church councils from the 4th century on and even then “true doctrine” changed with almost every council. Conformity to a single doctrine, single leadership, single bible, single liturgy started to become encouraged as orthodoxy and centralisation around patriarchs (including the Patriarch of Rome) the norm

This too was the era when Rome began to pull back from its borders and churches at the edges tended to remain less centralised and more heterodox.  Relational leadership and doctrine based on a shared heritage adapted to fit the culture around it continued for longer and whilst of course communion with the rest of the empire and church continued these older more established practices of heterodoxy and relationship were ongoing and dominant.

So here we start the journey of exploration …..

(previously posted on Llan)

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