A New, More Powerful Story

Twenty five years ago a Dutch pilgrim to Holy Island's B&B was double-booked.  His name was Egbert. He found himself next to me as I led Evening Prayer at St. Cuthbert's Centre and ended up at our Open Gate Retreat House.  Next day in my little Starbank Cottage we shared dreams for the church and the world but I had long forgotten the conversation.

This week Egbert again walked St. Cuthbert's Way and spent an afternoon at my Berwick house, Lindisfarne Links, en route to Edinburgh.  He is a national church leader. A dream has been born within him to write a book.   I told him that before I wrote my novel 'Aidan of Lindisfarne: Irish Flame Warms a New World' I studied Joseph Campbell's insights into the Seven Stages of every Hero's Journey. He also has studied those seven human landmarks.  

Egbert wants to write a book that will change a de-churched, secular world.  He reminded me of Ivan Illich's quote: 'Neither revolution nor reformation can ultimately change a society, rather you must tell a new powerful tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story, one so inclusive that it gathers all the bits of our past and our present into a coherent whole, one that even shines some light into the future so that we can take the next step forward. If you want to change a society then you have to tell an alternative story'.

We talked about the Czech theologian  Tomas Halik’s Afternoon of Christianity: The Courage to Change.  The church needs courage to say goodbye to its morning (the first two millennia) and embrace its afternoon (accompanying secular people as they question and dream).  I told him that's why I have written A Way of Life for the Third Millennium.  And I believe it is why, before too long, we shall have a book from Egbert which we can't put down.

Posted at 07:57am on 11th April 2024
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