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‘Why I’m here’: Celebrating the positives in Contemplative Fire
Session at the Contemplative Fire Community Weekend, Sunday 9 September 2012, Little Gaddesden; facilitated by Diane Rutter and Jo Howard. Participants seated in large circle with balls of coloured wool being passed back and forth between contributors, creating a multi coloured interweaving.
Comments from some of the participants, from notes by Peter Wright and Philip Roderick:
What are the things we need to nurture in Contemplative Fire?
Why am I here today?
What do I love about Contemplative Fire?
- The trefoil is a strong, balancing rhythm in my life
- A place I can be completely real in what I think – without editing
- The quality of the silence – we can take this for granted; it is a resource of depth, wisdom and community. In the silence we know we are the body of Christ
- I have a huge thank you for everyone who prayed for my back – love, gratitude
- This is the first place for me where I feel I can be my rebellious inquirer self
- I didn’t think I needed help but I do - there is more to do to find myself, to grow in confidence. Anxiety has been removed by being part of this community
- I believe passionately in a new paradigm of Christian understanding. Contemplative Fire has a prophetic voice. I love the creativity in worship. This can also feed into mainstream church
- You are all candles of individual colours – lit candles of faith - and you shine with your own individual light
- Contemplative Fire is a spacious place to explore; there is no negative sense of compulsion
- Contemplative Fire is many things to me – I like being allowed not to have to have answers – to be in the unknowing – Contemplative Fire invites the dwelling deep, freedom, spaciousness and security
- As I seeker, I love being outside with Contemplative Fire and finding that my body has a lot of the answers. The answer is often in my heart
- What I love about Contemplative Fire is the earthiness - organic, anarchic, amazing intellects, an intuitive body with an organic guttiness about it
- What’s special is the life in the worship. I go to churches and feel spiritually deadened. Here, a few minutes of chant, body prayer, dancing about – brings me to life and lights a candle within myself
- The opportunity to be myself, to express views not necessarily orthodox, surrounded by an atmosphere of trust and love
- I can say things without fear or being told ‘you can’t think like that’. I value Contemplative Fire’s relationality as when meeting in 3’s or 12’s. I am full of fear - relationship helps overcomes fear
- Seeing the trefoil - it’s like a seesaw – it keeps a balance in my life - wholeness
- I value the celebration of God in nature, the outside, the sense of community holding and being in solitude in community
- There’s masses that I love - where do I begin – going into the beyond – words, understanding - I’ve had questions for years - Contemplative Fire is a place I can dialogue with friends, especially being playful, silly, doing things from my gut
- There are many things –the stimulus to intellect, being outside, the stillness, silence and complete rest
- I feel and observe a very strong sense of the recovery of the contemplative side of the gospel that many churches have lost. Contemplative Fire is a group seriously journeying on a credible spiritual path, following Jesus, not wanting to be bound to institutionalised church, but as a prophetic arm. I experience an incarnation of Christ, which is lovely
- Why am I here? I am waiting and experiencing the now/here in community
- I am not trapped but held. I was allergic to Christianity until I met Philip and Jill – I have dipped my toe into Godlike stuff but without the language jargon, with deep respect for other religions, looking for unity rather than otherness
- There was no indication that I had to become a Companion, no pressure (which frightens). I have immense gratitude in being able to come, taste, see, feel and watch your ‘sensing of the Sprit.’ It is not a top down structure but bottom up, listening to all the colours
- I had lost my faith. Faith and hope are pretty important as well as love. Contemplative Fire is an experience of the divine that is not linked to difficult theology
- Time and again someone else has just said it! I have done a lot of reading to do with re-visioning Christianity. I value the creative imaginative way of exploring body, mind and spirit, how they relate to me. The pilgrimage walks etc I find deeply nourishing
- I value the resourcing to be still and the resonance with Psalm 23, ‘restoring my soul’
- The invitation to turn up and discover things, the unexpected. How much do I unravel (the wool)? I value the metaphor!
- Contemplative Fire is rare, unique institution as it empowers its members and does not do things to them
- The idea of God creating - the idea of ‘let there be....’. We are given permission to become who we are rather than anything prescribed. What everybody has said is lovely
- I felt I had come home. This is my safety net in my life journey. It gives me strength
- The sense of connectedness. Learning more about the Christian mystics and the edge
- I have come from no place or tradition – I cannot say how grateful I am to be able to explore the mystery of Christ
- One of the delights is that this is a place of recovery for me as a woman priest in a non-affirming diocese – a place of integration where I can walk with Christ in our family, home & Quiet Garden - helping me to be centred and rooted - I delight in the connectivity …
- I feel new to Contemplative Fire. I am a natural outsider. I don’t like definition and restriction. I am coming in out of the cold. There is a lot of peace to be had in a collective that allows me to be here with a group ‘being in God’
- I am a guest and listening – you are trying to be different and are achieving it – I’m thankful
- It has given me a depth to my spiritual journey and a place to explore
- One of many things is the contemplative part of my life giving energy to my fire of action and social commitment – it is a firing up of the Spirit – it is talking about things which really matter
- Although I am feeling like a visitor I am familiar with what you say and do. I am an Anglican. My wish is that the Fire that is here could be in the structures that are no good for many. They are too churchy – trying to worship but without your connection
- I am a natural outsider needing to belong. Connecting with the outdoors and with other people as we seek to connect with Christ. This is the perfect fulfilment for me to grow into and to be the person I am meant to be.
And a final summary comment by Philip
- Many threads, so many things to be grateful for that each of us can celebrate. Close to my heart and call are the exploration of spiritual gift and discipline, spaciousness, the natural world and the Christian mystics. I am hugely encouraged by so many contributions of what delights us in this community. Each of us is called to embody what we hold dear on the Way of Christ as authentically as we are able. We can then be and speak the story.