Walls Or Divine Connections?

No Man Is an Island is the theme of Edinburgh's Abbey Summer School this year. These summer schools are inspired by Regents' College, Vancouver. The world's focus on Trump's walls and Brexit's border controls makes the theme timely.

Julie Canlis' opening address defined the false individualism that characterises the Anglo-Saxons lands. She drew on research by Geert Hofstede. She started with John Donnes's words: No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a pa'rt of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were....' She quoted Jim Houston: 'Christians as individuals are only morons.' She defined immaturity as being out of step with one another.

On Thursday I led a 90 minute workshop: 'Simplicity, Silence and Synchronicity - three steps that lead us into Trinitarian community.' What is that I hear you ask? I suggested God calls us away from the conformity of sectarian churches into the community of the vulnerable - and that is what the Trinity is.

On Saturday I and others delivered TED talks (try them out on google). How can we sustain life-giving structures (which require protected spaces) and also connect with the world? Its about operating at two levels. I quoted from Thomas R. Kelly's 'A Testament of Devotion': ‘There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be … in adoration … (with) a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings’. We made a pilgrimage along Edinburgh's Royal Mile (John Knox and all that) and climaxed with a service at the ruins of St. Anthony's Priory in Holyrood Park.

I missed the Friday school in order to speak in Holy Island's new village hall to pilgrims from Trinity Presbyterian Church, Santa Ana, California. I shared my story and spoke about Celtic spirituality. But the last sentence was not prepared. There were questions about busyness and the Trinity. I suggested to the questioner that where you are truly allowing church programmes to be serviced as a community you don't get burn-out. My friend, the pastor, was in tears.

The Father in me and you. Jesus in me and you. The Spirit in me and you.This can heal the split in the western psyche.

To find out more about Abbey Summer School visit www.AbbeySummerSchool. Or watch the film Or visit my download 'Walls or Divine Connections?'

Posted at 17:52pm on 2nd June 2017