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St Aidan's Way of Mission

Celtic insights for a post-Christian world

Surveying the life and times of Aidan of Lindisfarne, this book draws insights into missional approaches to inspire both outreach and discipleship for today's Church. 

Ray shows that such figures from past centuries can provide models for Christian life and witness today. An author and speaker on Celtic spirituality with a worldwide reputation, he combines historical fact with spiritual lessons in a highly accessible style, with an appeal to a wide audience.



Church Times 25 November 2016

Ray Simpson is the Lindisfarne-based founder of a new monastic movement, the Community of Aidan and Hilda. His Australian co-author, Brent Lyons-Lee, is an expert in indigenous mission initiatives.

At one point, the authors commend the practice of lectio divina. It means "godly reading", and is based around the four Rs of reading, reflection, response, and relaxing. It serves them well. Often, all there is to go on is fleeting insights into Aidan ' s life from Bede. But, in the spiritual realm, a little goes a long way. The Irish saint ' s very name means "little flame". From the book ' s first chapter - "Incarnational and indigenous mission" - we are carried straight to religious flashpoints of contemporary importance.

Born at about the time that St Columba died, at the end of the sixth century, Aidan was commissioned from Iona to evangelise the brutally warring Anglo-Saxon settlers of Northumbria . Not for him the later Romanised colonial model of mission, a model replicated from Australia to the Americas , where "the gospel was preached, but abuse was modelled." Instead, the Lindisfarne mission seeded "little colonies of heaven" that helped to grow "an indigenous, English-speaking church".

I loved the chapter on "Soul friends and lifelong learning". Here we are reminded that, when universities were separated from a spiritual grounding in the Beatitudes, and Christ ' s relationship to nature, they lost "a holistic understanding of godly learning that embraces head, heart and hands". Other chapters explore pilgrimage, women as spiritual foster-mothers, social justice, and religious rule and rhythm.

There are those who would see "Celtic Christianity" dead and buried. There are those who believe the future to be post-Christian. This little gem is a lectio divina of the signs of resurrection.

Dr McIntosh is an Honorary Fellow in divinity at Edinburgh University

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