Celtic Retreat

This week I went to a wonderful retreat focused on Celtic Christianity. Near the beginning of the retreat, we broke into small groups to talk about our initial thoughts. We were asked to say one word to the whole group about our hopes for the retreat. I used the word “journey”.

I am thinking a lot about my own journey now, as I prepare to start seminary in the fall and as I try to find people and organizations that will walk alongside during my journey. For me, this word journey carries additional layers of meaning. There is the aspect of ‘pilgrimage’. Many people at the retreat had been to Iona. One had walked to Santiago. My journey or pilgrimage, right now, is much less about physical destinations and how to get there. Instead, it is more in the tradition of the “Peregrinatio Pro Amore Christi”. A quick simple description of this can be found in PEREGRINATIO, PILGRIMAGE CELTIC STYLE.

There was a brief comment about the idea of ‘Anamchara’, The Anamchara Fellowship describes Anamchara as

Anamchara is a Gaelic word for "soul friend". It was the style of formation given to a new monk or nun in a Celtic monastery, whereby the new member would be paired up with an older, more experienced monk

As I think about my journey, my peregrinatio, I find myself looking for Anamchara, perhaps not in the strictest original sense, but at least in terms of soul friends who will walk alongside me in my journey.

There was a lot of talk about Pelagius, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and others whose writings and approach to God were seen as a threat to the Roman church, the church of Empire. I look at the decline of the established church in western culture and some of my own struggles with the established church, I wonder what sort of ecclesiastical organization might walk alongside me in my journey.

Somewhere in this is something about connecting our faith and spirituality to the vernacular. The vernacular of Rome was of emperors and empire. The vernacular of the Celts was of nature. What was the vernacular of other indigenous cultures Christianity encountered and what can we learn from them?

What is the vernacular of twenty-first century western culture, the vernacular of Millenials and GenX? While it might sound like an oxymoron, what is the vernacular of modern academia?

Somewhere in this is I find echoes of Foucault and counter narrative. I find echo of Agamben and homo sacer.

As we left, we thought about where we go from here. I spend a lot of my time these days working with and thinking about online education. How might the School of Celtic Consciousness exist online and connect with similar efforts? I have a bunch of thoughts around this as well and hope to explore all of this in more detail in the future.

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