Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Today I feel strongly drawn to hibernate.

By which I don't mean 'go to sleep for a long time.' No, what I mean is more akin to the ancient monastic rhythm than to bears in the woods. The monastic communities lived by a rhythm that seems to me more in tune with nature than our lives today (where variations in daylight hours are flattened out by electric lights, and variations in temperature by central heating). In the winter, they would 'retreat' to their monastary, where they would study and reflect and copy out books by hand;* in the summer they would be sent out into the surrounding settlements, to establish local communities of faith.**

It is winter (last night storms swept across Britain, with gusts up to 100mph, and fatalities in Ireland and Scotland). And I feel drawn to spend more time reading, writing, eating (you need more calories in winter than in summer), and 'sleeping' (well, dreaming dreams).

Reading: most recently I've read Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy. It's very good - a definite recommendation. I think I'll be re-reading John Eldredge's Waking the Dead, too; and then re-read A Generous Orthodoxy...
Writing: not least, here...
Eating: Jo and I are looking to host a fortnightly meal for the (local to Hillsborough) members of our (wider) missional community, starting very soon. I guess for many of us there's a flurry of socialising at Christmas, and an equal-and-opposite post-Christmas reaction...but eating together regularly is essential for building any community.
'Sleeping': I want to dream dreams and have waking visions; to see, and then do, what the Father is doing (not just jump-in-feet-first, or muddle along, or continue to plough a furrow after the soil has eroded away).

So, I'm off to hibernate. Enjoy your day!

*Monks played a key role in the development of European universities; producing wonderful cultural artifacts such as the 'illuminated manuscript' The Book of Kells - and nowhere more so than in Ireland, which was known as Hibernia...
**The retreat/go-out rhythm is even more marked at Lindisfarne, which is cut off from the Northumbrian coast twice-a-day at each high tide, and connected to it by a causeway twice-a-day at each low tide. There are daily, weekly, monthly micro-rhythms within seasonal ones.

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