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Sufi Retreat

So... a few unsytematic reflections on my first Sufi retreat.

I love the fact that in one tradition there is a place for silence, for liturgical prayer and for dancing and singing with a guitar. Usually I have to go to different communities to get all those.

I didn't like how programmed the retreat was. I would have liked more spare time to get more reading done and reflection.

For the first time in my life I was worshipping in a non-Christian, non-Unitarian community. I needed to do that. If only for some perspective.

I think my spirituality might be more visual than auditory. I'm not sure chanting words over and over again suits me.

There were some lovely people there, though not a great deal of diversity.

It was absolutely beautiful all week, I was sunbathing while other parts of the country drowned.

I starved myself of Jesus, intentionally, more about that later.

There was lots I was critical of, I don't know why that should suprise me. It's the same in any mainline Christian service. I'm a critical rationalist trying to be a mystic. They're not mutually exclusive. But I want concepts explained to me.

There were times when I winced when it all seemed a bit New Age in the worst sense of that kind of thing.

Where is social justice in this sort of thing? If I did reach the heights of mystical achievement what difference would that make to the world?

I am a Unitarian. It sort of suprises me when I come back to that conclusion. I give myself every opportunity to come to a different conclusion, but it never happens. It is good to test the path.


Anonymous said…
Stephen wrote: I'm a critical rationalist trying to be a mystic. They're not mutually exclusive. But I want concepts explained to me.

There were times when I winced when it all seemed a bit New Age in the worst sense of that kind of thing.

I suspect I'd've felt the same if I'd been there.

I also suspect that, like me, Stephen has had the benefit of having his ability to "think straight" affirmed by (at least soe of) those close to him as he grew up with the result that he is comfortable with it.

Not everyone has had that good fortune, and those who have not may indeed prefer not to have concepts explained to them, fearing for the ability to connect spiritually if they have to confront that part of their incompleteness.

One of the tougher choices we may have to make, as a denomination, in devising our growth strategy, is whether to pitch our appeal to such people, or to the likes of Stephen and I.

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