Liminal Luminous

a wandering, wondering space of devotion, creativity and freedom.
creativity Disability/Chronic Illness/Mental health

Structure and Spirituality

There is no doubt in my my mind that I like structure.

Music has a very well laid out and well trodden path with guidelines and even exams along the way. I know exactly what I have to do to pass each Grade. Whether or not I can is a different matter, the expectations are written out on a bit of paper I can read. Obviously I don’t believe that doing your grades are the only way to learn music, but it works well for me.

When I was well enough to do Martial Arts I greatly enjoyed that, again the grading system provides clear guidelines of what was expected of me.

One of the great things of being a teacher was whatever period of the day it was I had an exact place to be.

I do not do well in social events, networking or anything else like that, unless I am playing a role – the photographer, event manager, teacher, workshop leader etc. A family BBQ? Really stressful… Work conference? Bloody hideous.

And my faith? Well I have to say, one of the reasons I liked the Church of England so much is because of that structure. The liturgy literally provides a structure, complete with words to say at the right points. The framework stays the same, the songs and preaching change, but the rest is constant.

But in my rather contrary way I am also quite rebellious, I don’t like being told what to say. I disagreed with a lot of it.

I’ve just re-read Nimue Brown’s (who often comments here) Spirituality without Structure I love these Pagan Portal books, and I think this is an especially good one. It reminded me of how I liked my own path of freedom. I was a wanderer (hah! I typed wonderer…)on my own path for years. It is wonderful to celebrate with other people, but sometimes you need to be freer. Maybe this is what I want or at least need for now, the freedom to worship the Numinous in my own way. Which is not to say I can’t join in with the occasional service at my local church, or even, maybe, go back to a grove again….. There is even a Forest Church starting up in Essex, which I have written in my diary and I am looking forward to with great excitement.

Maybe for now I can go back to bimbling on my own path.

4 Comment

  1. If we were sitting in a room together, I’d ask you to say more about the role expectations play in your life.
    I notice you say “I know exactly what I have to do”, “the expectations are written out”, “I greatly enjoyed … clear guidelines of what was expected of me”.
    The consensus worship in church — creeds, written prayers, hymns etc — can do no more than offer a framework; it’s the armchair to curl up in, not the person sitting in it. If you dig deeper, almost nobody (I’d say absolutely nobody but, you know, there’s always one . . .) believes all or, in some cases, most, of what’s said. They gather because, as John’s gospel puts it so vividly, when they are together they form a place of encounter with the risen Christ, and they hunger for him.
    If I may (this will need your amen to effect it), then I take the sword of the Holy Spirit and, cutting in a circle all the way round you, in Jesus’ Name I sever you completely from all the expectations that have limited and bound and coerced you and rendered you helpless. May you be free. May you be whole. May you be at peace. x

    1. Oh Pen! What a lovely comment, thank you! I think I might write out that last sentence and put it somewhere I can see it each day. Maybe tattooed in reverse… on my forehead?!

      I am sitting here in tears right now, thank you….

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