Oslo University And Church Networks

The monthly International Students Meeting combined with the Theological Students for a packed lunch-hour meeting on Celtic Christianity which overflowed into canteen conversations. One African after another said 'Thank you. This model speaks to us'. The model was that of Aidan of Lindisfarne and those who follow practices inspired by this model today. The leader of a Christian youth sports movement showed me diagrams he had sketched for a book. These symbolised holistic values which he felt must supersede the split between mind and body, religion and nature that has marred European Christianity, and he felt great resonance with the Aidan and Hilda approach.

The clergy of three Church of Norway deaneries combined for a similar meeting; others came for smaller meetings around a meal. The element of Celtic Christianity which they most warm to is the embracing by the church of nature. There are a few pastors for mountain pilgrim huts. We met with Roger Jensen of the new Pilgrim Centre in Oslo which the Government funds.

A round table conference at Bible House with the new staff at Verbum Press on what future publications are needed resulted in me giving copies of about 8 of my books that I had purchased before leaving UK! This was followed by a meeting joined by staff of the Bible Society, Areopagus and other groups who are based there. The day started with one of our Everyday Celtic Prayer services.

Stimulating conversation followed my opening talk at Church House, where staff involved in Norway's Council of Churches, women's world development, immigrant congregations, and inter-faith dialogue came together. We explored ways of weaving together God-given strands in Christianity which have become separated, how Africans can help European Christians bring reference to God back into all of life but at the same time learn the lessons of Christian religious wars, the Enlightenment, and the need for humility and integrity in the claims Christians make, and how Aidan's approach to dialogue and culture friendly evangelism offers important insights for contemporary outreach.

Wonderful hospitality from so many. Sightseeing. Ragnar and Christine Bovim are creative, spacious hosts. Sven and Ann-Kristin Aasmundtveit entertained me at their home with ikons, silence and his song which will appear in the new Norwegian hymnbook, with words from a Qumran community: 'May we be like little notes in the song you reveal to us...my lips are playing flutes after your notes.'

This afternoon I meet with the Oslo Anamcara branch. Now I have to preach to Norstrand church, which is about to double its seating capacity. I am working to create a 15 minutes talk, in English that can be understood, about a topic that deserves life-long study. It will be a download headed 'Rise Up' - if I survive to upload it.

Posted at 08:05am on 14th September 2013
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