Wednesday, August 23, 2006

TV Update

After a very disappointing weekend, football wise (my team lost) Sunday night had a couple of TV gems to cheer me up.

I have already blogged about The Miracles of Jesus. This was the last one of the mini-series and it focussed on the resurrection. I thought it was great. High production values and perhaps surprisingly sympathetic although in this age of increased sensitivity around religion (normally every other religion except Christianity - though I understand why I think) perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. I thought it was surprisingly theologically robust - looking at the theological significance of the resurrection etc. I know some people have found it slightly patronising in tone and lacking other sources (where were the famous talking heads we have come to expect in these sorts of shows?!) I liked it.

The other gem was Melvyn Bragg's hour-long interview with Rowan Williams later on ITV1 (there is a transcript of an excerpt here). I always enjoy listening to Rowan talk - he's so erudite and articulate about faith and life. And he always strikes me as being a really humble, holy guy (ok I'll stop sucking up to the boss now!). The interview was revealing - he talked about his upbringing and what God means to him personally and his experience of prayer. He bigged up 'Fresh Expressions' of church as something he was particularly excited about.
But the thing that made the biggest impression on me was his reflections on monastic life. Apparently he considered becoming a monk in his mid-twenties. When Bragg pushed him further on the reasons for this Rowan said that the rationale behind monasticism is the desire to 'dial-down' the noise and clutter of life - by taking out the 'hyper-choice' of contemporary life i.e. when your life is ordered you don't spend energy on when and what you're going to eat, what you're going to wear, what you're going to do, how you're going to pray etc. and so a space is created - a mental, spiritual, and emotional space - within which you can go deeper into God.
That made a lot of sense to me.
He also said that we need monastics because we need to have 'people who can see' around. Not just people who can 'do' things, but people who can 'see' deeper levels of reality.
I hope we can take on some of these thoughts in our little monastic experiment here in the hOME Chapter.

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