Small is Beautiful!
so you know why I persist with these emails when I could be having
a holiday here in Perth: for some reason March and October are
always our very best months of the year for growth in our readership
figures. I've not yet worked out why that is. Our email plays
a significant, but not dominant, part in generating traffic to
Catholica. I can't afford not to have an email going out for too
many days otherwise people quickly forget about us. I must say
though that that is not likely to happen at the moment. The traffic
over recent days to Catholica has been excellent and that owes
much to the quality of the discussions in our forum.
discussion I'd like to highlight today is the string started by
yesterday entitled "Lost
It has generated much discussion. As mentioned in my last email,
on Wednesday we had as guests for readers of Catholica
join us for morning tea. "Meeka36", Born in Meekathara
about 75 years ago, "Beehive" and Graham. They don't
post on Catholica
very often but they told us they are voracious readers of what
is offered here. Towards the end of a long and fascinating conversation
about many of the current topics of interest on Catholica
"Beehive" launched into a fascinating recollection of
his time as a missionary priest with the Zulu people in Southern
Africa. I felt like grabbing my video camera, which was just inside
the door, but hesitated to do that because placing a video camera
in front of him I am sure would have destroyed the story which
came from deep in his heart. (I've learned over the years that
when you start "observing" something with a video camera
it is very much like the now axiom in Physics that the intrusion
of the observer changes that which is being observed.) I'm going
to try and briefly summarize it here in one paragraph because
what he said gels in so beautifully with the discussion triggered
by Bill Dowsley
and also the conversation about what Eugene
Stockton is exploring about what we might learn from the
spirituality of the indigenous peoples.
spent 12 years with the Zulu people. With one group he spent seven
years with he was the first missionary they had encountered. He
was quite a young man when he first went there fresh out
of seminary. He essentially saw his mission as one of evangelizing
these primitive people. That would have been the common perception
of most "missionaries" at the time. In this exquisite
and deeply moving story he told us he related how he had bored
these people stupid with his first few homilies. In those early
homilies he was essentially trying to teach them the "theology"
of Christianity what we believed and why we believed it.
He could see he wasn't getting through so he tried a different
tack. Instead of feeding them theology he began trying to simply
tell them the story of this man "Jesus". Suddenly his
"evangelizing" came alive. His audience was interested
in the person named "Jesus". He related though how in
the end he had been "evangelized" by the Zulu people
rather than the other way about. "Beehive" explained
to us that these people gave him insight into how the first Christian
would have been the person "Jesus" not through
the eyes that have been "filtered" by all our modern
theology and the devotional and worship practises of subsequent
epochs in human history but in a much simpler way. He suggested
we need to read the scriptural stories which it the only
real quasi-historical information we have about Jesus through
the eyes and mindframe of a relatively "primitive" people
who first wrote down those stories. We see, for example, the stories
of the "Jesus miracles" through the lense of our modern
understanding of the word "miracle". They had no understanding
then of what we would describe as a "miracle" today.
"Beehive" then went on into a lengthy exploration about
how, in later years back here in Australia and long after he left
the priesthood (and threw off much of the beliefs he'd been taught
in seminary) he went back and endeavoured to explore how some
of the insights of the Old Testament, particularly Isaiah, came
to be pinned on the person of Jesus. It was a fascinating explanation
almost a monologue that went on for about 15 minutes and
the rest of us were all spellbound. I'm going to try and twist
"Beehive's" arm into writing a commentary for us where
he can relate the story better than what I have done here.
the above I'm essentially only trying to draw out two aspects
of the story "Beehive"
told us. The first is the intersection with what Eugene
Stockton seems to be on about: that we can learn something
spiritually from the indigenous peoples of the world. They do
have a wisdom that is valuable and not "primitive" at
all. The indigenous peoples of the world have a spirituality that
is grounded in the very essence of Creation. Secondly was his
"loss of faith" which, in another sense was not a "loss"
at all but a discovery, or re-discovery, of a new way in which
to understand the Jesus
or Christian story.
the significance of today's "Small
is Beautiful" headline see the post I've placed on
the forum HERE.
We've been having a fascinating conversation here in Perth about
the BBC television series "The
Trap" which we discussed at length back at
the beginning of January here on Catholica
and last night I was introduced to some other ideas, broadly
coming from the ideas of E.F.
Schumacher which contrast with the ideas in "The
Trap" and which may play a paradigmatic part in shaping
world politics in the era opening up before us.
be no email tomorrow as I suspect we'll be busy all day with our
journey back to Sydney. Back to normal on Sunday.
<The "Lost Faith"
discussion in our forum...>
<The "Small is Beautiful"
discussion in our forum...>
Wishing you a great day wherever you happen to be ... in life and in our world.
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