(There is no particular link to the image above by the way, other than it reminds me of one of our island retreats!)
Simon’s article was focussing on what he saw as a significant change in the way Evangelical Christians are approaching spirituality, and whilst I would not regard myself as Evangelical, I recognise the patterns he describes. Here is a quote;
“Contemplative spirituality is a radically different way of being for most evangelical communities.”
In contemporary British society, with its emphasis on the importance of activity and consumption, a sustained path of contemplative Christianity is profoundly counter cultural. Success is generally measured by achievement, and when it comes to contemplation, achievement is hard to measure, or display.
I interviewed Roy Searle of the Northumbria Community for a book about new forms of monasticism , and during our discussion he made the point that the way in which desert spirituality differs from ‘conventional’ Christian spirituality, is that it focuses upon the inner journey – or the ‘journey of the heart’. This is in contrast to ‘normal’ life which is marked by external signs of movement, progress and achievement.