Director, Celtic Way
I grew up in a home where I was loved very well and encouraged in my thinking and writing. I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up (I still do!). I went to many different Christian schools between elementary and grad school and witnessed a number models for religious education—and I watched very closely, as my fascination with educational philosophy grew. Most of the religious pedagogy that I witnessed, and was at times compelled by or complicit in, was rife with shame narratives, dualism, and disembodied thinking (though I didn’t have much of that language until later). Simultaneously, I saw beautiful things—things that stood out as meaningful deviations or as somehow transformative.
But, generally, scary God in the basement wanted us all to mentally assent to Truth, correct the chasm of our debt to and distance from HIM, and do so with black and white, conclusion-based thinking. I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here, but it’s not too far off and it felt woefully inadequate as both a process and a theology. And yet, in these same places, where God was taken seriously as a reality, and where I read scriptures like “There is no fear in love. But, perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment…”
(1 John 4:18) and “Jesus did many other things as well. If all of them were written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25), I was compelled. And I continue to be compelled.
As an antidote to our need to clutch and control the teaching about God, the Celtic Christian narrative reminds us of our deep goodness as image-bearers of the Divine, points to the deeply mysterious of nature of existence which cannot be quantified or sorted, and plants us in the soil of the earth with its rhythms and seasons, on our own two feet. We are invited into the goodness, majesty, curiosity, and BLESSING of presence and all that we find there.
It is this rhythmic, courageous, and hospitable movement towards all people and experiences that, I believe, will instruct us in the ways of a loving, healing, and just God. That is why I am honored to be a part of this community—I need it. I need to be taught by the “peace of the wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief” (Berry) or said another way to “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow” (Matthew 6:28).