Purpose of Living Spirituality Connections
We live in times of great change affecting all our institutions, including religious ones. Change is enlivening and can also be disorientating. New forms of spirituality are now being birthed around the world. Our response to this is to encourage the mutual support of people exploring their own spiritual journeying.
Living Spirituality Connections is a hub for creative ways of exploring spirituality. It is at the interface between traditional Christian faith and practice, and newly emerging expressions of spirituality. LSC is a resource through which people can find material, groups and people to help deepen their explorations. LSC is here to keep people informed about a wide range of initiatives and events relevant to our vision, and to connect people on a similar journey.
What we value
• spirituality expressed in our daily lives and relationships
• creativity experienced and expressed in diverse forms
• awe and wonder as ways of experiencing the sacred
• slowing down as a way of feeling the fullness of the present
• mutuality and partnership
• the wisdom from diverse spiritual traditions and contemporary movements
• respectful relationships based on listening and compassion
• an equitable sharing of the world’s resources
• the sense of being an intrinsic part of the web of life
• the importance of caring for the natural world.
Talking about God
We acknowledge that the word “God” often conjures up images that don’t adequately convey to contemporary ears the sheer breadth of meaning, existence and experience that gives us life. Some phrases that have resonance for today include:
The Eternal Spirit
The ground of our being
The Infinite Source
The essence of all things
The Ultimate Reality
The wellspring at our depths
The breath of life
The Infinite Spirit of Light and Power
Unconditional love from which the Universe and human life is born
The creative energy that fires human beings, nature and the cosmos
The Infinite Source of All That Is, in whom we live and move and have our Being
Some also experience their relationship with God and Christ as a more personal and intimate one.
We understand Christ to be present in our world today as the Cosmic Christ connecting all things together.
Many people also connect with Christ consciousness within them.
Christ is understood to be rooted in the ancient wisdom tradition in the writings of many modern scholars, such as Cynthia Bourgeault’s The Wisdom Jesus.
Transcendence, immanence and love
We see the divine as being both the animating spark within human beings and the whole of creation, and yet being a boundless Mystery and spaciousness whose nature is beyond the grasp of human minds. For some the transcendent aspect is primary while others’ focus is on the presence of the sacred within our lives.
The four spiral paths named by creation spirituality are valued by some of us – life as blessing; accepting the painful aspects intrinsic within life; the transforming potential of creativity; and the importance of acting to address human injustice and the destruction of the natural world.
The deep unity of life, despite the glorious diversity of lifeforms, has been beautifully articulated by J. Philip Newell in A New Harmony. The Spirit, The Earth and the Human Soul – “ … the birthing presence at the heart of the universe is love…the universe in its oneness is radically relational”.
Living the questions
In Living Spirituality Connections we don’t see ourselves as providing answers, but rather as living the questions. We retain a reverence for unknowing and mystery as well as for the clear experiences people have of the presence of the divine in their lives.
Why Living Spirituality Connections is important
In addition to the biographies on the Working and Discernment Group page, members have written about why Living Spirituality Connections is important to them.
Petra Griffiths writes:
Living Spirituality Connections is important for me, since it is clear that the wineskins of church structures are often not able to hold the wine of the spirit. It is fortunate that there are churches such as St James’s where we don’t have to leave our questions and challenges at the door, and where there is some freedom of exploration.
In my search for fresh ways to give expression to the movements of spirit, I feel a need for the companionship of kindred spirits, and also appreciate having my boundaries stretched by hearing about insights from different forms of in-depth spiritual exploration.
I greatly benefited from the newsletters and emails that Eley and Win sent to LSN members, which were both stimulating and broadening. We are now in a new phase where we all need to contribute as best we are able to the growth of LSC, so that the relational nature of the sacred is embodied. Meetings with the Steering Group members are nurturing since all concerned have a deep spiritual connection, as well as wide experiences of exploration.
I am encouraged by the cross fertilisation that will be possible through LSC, and look forward to gradually getting to know current members and those joining as we make ourselves more widely known, and to forming mutually beneficial exchanges with many other centres and organisations. Special interest groups are a way in which LS members can contribute according to their interests, and make contact with others.
Heather-Jane Ozanne writes:
I have long been someone who likes to explore, both in my spiritual life and in life in general. Through exploring I have made many life-enriching and even life-changing discoveries. So I welcome LSC as an initiative which can enable people to explore both the outer and inner terrain of their spiritual and/ or religious lives in a way which is not usually possible within the institutional framework of the church.
I particularly like the word ‘partnership’ as it denotes for me a way of relating in which people are valued as responsible equals, involved in a broadly similar pursuit, with no one group or person having a monopoly on truth or the way things are done! I am also grateful for the efficient way in LS is being developed.
I hope that LSC will become a place where people can find and share nourishment, resources and inspiration for a truly Living Spirituality.
Linda Courage writes:
The Living Spirituality Network (LSN), and now Living Spirituality Connections, is a real treasure house to me, particularly now that my belonging to traditional church has changed. I used to be ensconced or perhaps entombed in traditional church membership which although important fed no part of me.
I have managed to maintain links with the churches in Selby where I live and am glad to be involved with services that are more contemplative in style – helping to design and host them, and enjoying going along to others. My belonging is quieter and more hidden, and involves tenderness at the forgotten edges.
LSC is a place through which I have learned that I am not alone, or going mad, or the dreaded ‘back-sliding’. Rather I am part of a worldwide and historical movement that is responding to life, and the life in life. A place where I can access the stories of others who have held onto the core of faith and been true to where they are being led.
I love the books that are brought to us – the finely crafted presentations that Eley shared with us – the people who are already involved – the people and organisations who might link with us – the dreams of what might be and the thought that I am a part of it all.