Walking With Disciples In The Hill Country

Jesus had his big meetings in Galilee's lowlands. When he mentored disciples he often went to the hill country. I have been walking with disciples in the hill country beyond Adelaide, topped by Lofty Mount, and residing at Flagstaffe Heights. It has been a privilege to have quality time of up to half a day usually with one, sometimes with two persons. These persons include Brad, Conor, Craig, Dan, Dennis, Jenny, Margaret, Matt, Melissa, Stephanie.

Each has a personal journey pregnant with possibility, as well as pitfalls. Among other things we explored de-cluttering our lives, affirming those close to us, mid-life options such as the road less travelled, having the courage of our convictions, being weaned from addiction to our own programmes lest we miss God's moment, study of God-guided Celtic personalities.

One half day was spent overlooking Brighton beach, another at a different resort. Two of us walked through Minkarra reserve where snakes delight to live. There was time to talk heart to heart at the lovely home of Matt and Margaret, who were most generous hosts, when Chloe the aristocat allowed it. At a Mount Barker coffee shop I met with Craig Mitchell,, the Uniting Church's inaugural National Director of Formation, Education and Discipleship (FED). He is focussed on new monasticism, and is planning a speaking tour for Mark Berry, co-author of 'A New Monastic Handbook' later this year. Mark spoke at our UK Voyagers Retreat in January.

At Summertown I met Dan, who informed me he had sent a paste to The Community of Aidan and Hilda Facebook. His Facebook name is Married Monk, and he feels we have much in common. He came off drugs and is now fit and learned. He earns income one day a week and the rest of the time travels in his truck among the marginalised. I would be interested to know what his wife thinks. He emails 'In Zen philosophy, everyone is a Buddha, except that most have not actualised the innate Buddhahood within them. In Christianity, everyone is a child of God, except that most have not realised the Kingdom of God within them. A Christian might say that all have been called, but not all have responded. For this reason, the Truth is being revealed, constantly illuminating reality and exposing illusion. The Bible equates this painful process to childbirth. Both Zen “rebirth” and Jesus’ insistence on being “born again” can be seen as a process and a practice of becoming who we are.'

It was a joy to meet writers, artists and musicians at The Centre for Music, Liturgy and the Arts, and to explore Celtic Blessings and the Arts of Living. This met at the Uniting Church's Stillpoint Centre whose director, Gary Stuckey, thinks the future lies with monasticism.

Matt and I talked through how to develop resources. He gives a hand to a publisher and distributor of Christian resources. Two members of his congregation, Kate and Dane, are so interested in Celtic spirituality that they have offered a large house with space for camping to be used as a retreat. The temperature today is 36, just perfect for a breather before I fly to Melbourne and begin a packed speaking circuit.

Posted at 14:52pm on 8th February 2015
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