Extreme Religion

It has been a quiet weekend; a kind of recovery time from overdoing things. This has given me the opportunity for more reading and reflection time, (in between the obligatory doze with the dog on my knee.) I was greatly impressed by the last of the BBC programmes involving Peter Olwen Jones in being an extreme pilgrim. He spent three weeks alone in a cave near the monastery of St Anthony in Egypt. Even the film crew left, and he made a video diary that left very little of the hardship to the imagination. What impressed me was the seriousness and the effort he made. And it was truly wonderful to see such a lightening in his face and expression as he came to the end of the adventure.

I also spent time reading a book 9o minutes in heaven by Don Piper. As you may surmise from the title, it is an autobiographical account of a life and death experience, which was quite simply life-changing and ultimately life-enhancing for him. It is not my normal form of spiritual reading, but a friend gave it to me with a view to discussing it the next time we meet. I have not yet worked out how best to tackle this – my memory being what it is – but a critique seems like a good idea.

Thus my spirituality over the last few days has been nurtured by Jesuits and their Sacred Space daily reader; extreme aestheticism; charismatic renewal and the universalist tinged writings of May Sarton. It is only as I reflect on it all that I realise how appropriate it all is for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

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2 Responses to Extreme Religion

  1. Graham says:

    I saw that programme and i thought the guy was quite brave to do as he did to live alone in a cave for three weeks,whether it was a deepening of spirituality he had or 3 weeks of sensory deprivation with the constant prayer chanting and non human contact I doubt anyone will ever know.
    I would love to see a follow up programme in about a year just to see the outcome and if the changes in his perception remained.

  2. freda says:

    A follow up programme is a great idea, Graham.

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