Wednesday Lunches With Desert Fathers

Ragnild Ogaard from Oslo gave two glorious gifts for our Celtic Christian Studies Library at our Annual Gathering. They were newly published Norwegian books. The first translates into English, according to her, as 'Lunch on Wednesdays with the Desert Fathers.' This little volume is written by Sven Aasmundtveit, a former leader of Norway's Anamcara, and is produced by a new publisher named Monastik. Each week there is a story of a desert father or mother on one page, and on the facing page a suggested response from us, the readers. New monasticism is taking root in Lutheran Norway.

The second book is a new edition of my Daily Prayer Rhythms for Busy People (Din rytme Din bonn). Since the first edition, Norway has had a new translation of the Bible, so when this book sold out it was not re-printed. But requests came in for a second edition that used the new Bible translation and that was also pocket-sized. The publishers responded to the first request, though sadly not to the second. Oh well, you can't win them all!

Another little book was gifted to me this month by its author, Julie Canlis. When Julie returned to USA after seventeen years abroad she noticed that the latest Christian best-sellers were all about how to be bigger and better than others - inspired by the American mantra 'You were designed for greatness'. So she decided to write a little book about 'The Theology of the Ordinary'. This came out of extended meditation, she tells us, on the cultural obsession with 'being impactful'. So she tells a Trinitarian story. The blessing of the Father on ordinary life and creation; the inhabitation of the Son in ordinary life as the pattern of redemption; and the ways the Spirit works in our ordinary lives to bring us into the new creation.

She critiques blind spots in the revival movements of people such as Charles Finney. Finney tweaked the methods of evangelism to achieve the desired ends. She highlights a danger for those of us in new movements such as CA&H: 'Who wants to be bound to other Christians who are paying off debts, raising children or struggling with depression? Its much more fun to be blazing a trail for God out there. Scripture, on the other hand, teaches that our growth is bound to that of others (Ephesians 4:13). Limitation was written in to Adam and Eve.

That is why I am learning to live ordinary life to the full. I joined an Archeological Society trip to Vindolanda on Wednesday and today have enjoyed garden eats with neighbours.

Posted at 16:51pm on 13th June 2017