Monday, April 26, 2010

Pilgrimage as antidote to gnosticism

Pilgrimage, done properly is one of the best-known antidotes to gnosticism. Gnositicism runs screaming at the sign of a muddy boot. When wise men prescribe pilgrimage, there's a fair chance that the diagnosis on the notes is "gnostic."
 — Charles Foster 2010 The sacred journey, The ancient practices (Nashville, Tn.: Thomas Nelson), p 19.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Road trippin

With the RHCP song at the front of my mind, I'm wondering what the relationship between pilgrimage and road-trip is.

Though Anita and will likely make our way from Munich to Barcelona by road, and from there I'll bus it to Irun, I don't think of this travel as part of my camino. I can think if too many reasons why road trippin really isn't pilgrimage (pace, convenience and amount of preparation required), for any road trip, that is, except for one to Chicago.

Now, predictably, Sufjan Stevens is at the front of my mind.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Aussie Camino

An episode of the ABC's Compass has made me aware of an enterprising group that has taken the initiative in establishing the camino Salvado from St Joseph's Subiaco to Australia's only monastic town, New Norcia: some 145 kms over six days. The route is named after Dom Salvado who walked it many times. I'm particularly pleased that following in the footsteps of this Abbot-Bishop would bring Australian pilgrims into contact with the histories of both the camino de Santiago and Australia's mixed relations (to say the least!) between the church and indigenous Australians.

Needless to say, I hope to walk this way one day soon.

Practice Travel (MREs)

I'm walking the camino and visiting Taizé mostly to develop a particular type of spirituality: missional spirituality, or simply, spirituality for mission.
And my missional vocation will be lived out in a particular type of context: military chaplaincy.

It's therefore fitting that in the same way that soldiers will conduct mission rehearsal exercises before deploying overseas, I'm currently conducting my own mission rehearsal exercise. I'm in Sydney for the week to attend a facilitation by Steve Taylor on mission, discipleship and leadership in cultures of change. In a number of ways I've tried to make this trip a practice for my travel in Europe:
  • I travelled only with hand luggage (I don't think I can ever travel with checked baggage again, it's so much quicker and easier),
  • I relied heavily on the hospitality of others - my hosts are generous and flexible and even though I do my own thing a lot of the time, I still feel like we share a significant amount of time, 
  • most of my non-study activities were unplanned before arriving (except for one), even a proposed trip to the a neighbouring city. 
In some ways I'm already starting to live the life of a pilgrim – travelling lightly, looking for God's grace at work in others and spontaneity – but there is certainly much to learn as I refine both the way I travel and discipline the way I live. 
(Numerous clichéd ways of making this last point tempted me in this late-night moment of weakness – much ground to cover, a long way to journey, etc – but I have successfully avoided placing them in the body of the post. I include them here for illustrative purposes only.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hiking training

Though not easy, recently I stopped triathlon training to undertake more hiking-specific training. A significant assistance has been the book Conditioning for outdoor fitness: functional exercise and nutrition for every body (2nd ed) by David Musnick and Mark Pierce.

My training program now involves a better range of activities but isn't yet complete, however blogging doesn't count as physical training, so straight out the door I go...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Technology and pilgrimage

Today I started reading the journal of another caminante, edited and compiled into book form; it's inspiring and I know that I'd really like to be able to do the same. I'm not sure that I'm capable of adding another expectation: so far my commitments are to the pilgrimage journey and certain practices along the way – what that all adds up to at the end seems a little beyond me, especially now. And even if I could undertake this extra task, I'm not sure that I should. 

Mostly I want to avoid taking too much technology with me: I remember Richard Foster's insight that simplicity is not about having nothing more to add, but having nothing more to take away. I am primarily a traveller, and not a photographer or writer and I really want to walk as I normally would and not be weighed down by a camera, books and a computer, even if it means that I have less to show for it afterwards. And that, for me, is really saying something. So I'm still working out what to take with me, but most importantly what to leave behind. If only I could this way when I'm not on pilgrimage.

[The Spanish word for 'pilgrim' is peregrino, from which is derived touregrino, for a spiritual tourist (perhaps another post on this one day?). In the twenty-first century, can the technogrino ever be a true pilgrim?]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


La Oración dl Señor – Lucas 11
2     «Padre,

              santificado sea tu nombre.
              Venga tu reino.
3     Danos cada día nuestro pan cotidiano.
4     Perdónanos nuestros pecados,
              porque también nosotros perdonamos a todos los que nos ofenden.
              Y no nos metas en *tentación. »


El cántico de Zacarías – Lucas 1
68 «Bendito sea el Señor, Dios de Israel,
porque ha venido a redimir a su pueblo. 

69 Nos envió un poderoso salvador en la casa de David su siervo 

70 (como lo prometió en el pasado por medio de sus *santos profetas), 

71 para librarnos de nuestros enemigos
y del poder de todos los que nos aborrecen; 

72 para mostrar misericordia a nuestros padres
al acordarse de su santo pacto. 

73 Así lo juró a Abraham nuestro padre: 

74 nos concedió que fuéramos libres del temor,
al rescatarnos del poder de nuestros enemigos,
para que le sirviéramos 75 con santidad y justicia,
viviendo en su presencia todos nuestros días.
76 Y tú, hijito mío, serás llamado profeta del Altísimo,
porque irás delante del Señor para prepararle el camino. 

77 Darás a conocer a su pueblo la salvación
mediante el perdón de sus pecados, 

78 gracias a la entrañable misericordia de nuestro Dios.
Así nos visitará desde el cielo el sol naciente, 

79 para dar luz a los que viven en tinieblas,
en la más terrible oscuridad, para guiar nuestros pasos por la senda de la paz.»

Obviously, an English version can be found in any Bible at Luke 1:68-79

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nunc dimittis

El cántico de Simeón – Lucas 2
29      «Según tu palabra, Soberano Señor,
        ya puedes despedir a tu *siervo en paz. 

30      Porque han visto mis ojos tu salvación, 

31      que has preparado a la vista de todos los pueblos: 

32      luz que ilumina a las *naciones
        y gloria de tu pueblo Israel.»


El cántico de Mária – Lucas 1
46     —Mi alma glorifica al Señor,
47     y mi espíritu se regocija en Dios mi Salvador,
48     porque se ha dignado fijarse en su humilde sierva.
       Desde ahora me llamarán dichosa todas las generaciones,
49     porque el Poderoso ha hecho grandes cosas por mí.
              ¡Santo es su nombre!
50     De generación en generación
              se extiende su misericordia a los que le temen.
51     Hizo proezas con su brazo;
              desbarató las intrigas de los soberbios.
52     De sus tronos derrocó a los poderosos,
              mientras que ha exaltado a los humildes.
53     A los hambrientos los colmó de bienes,
              y a los ricos los despidió con las manos vacías.
54-55 Acudió en ayuda de su siervo Israel
              y, cumpliendo su promesa a nuestros padres,
              mostró su misericordia a Abraham
              y a su descendencia para siempre.

Monday, April 12, 2010


As I walk the camino – and as I prepare to – I'll be keeping my own, simple times of prayer. Set-hour prayer is something relatively unfamiliar to me; my own tradition values extempore prayer. While this can easily, and often does, become little more than 'making it up as you go along,' ignoring the vast riches of the church's history of prayer, it can also be an occasion for virtuosic – even inspired – improvisation.

But, the choice between heartfelt, impromptu prayer and thoughtful, learned prayer represents a false dichotomy. Alongside improv, many musicians train on scales and also know the classics by heart. Tomorrow I'll be posting four 'standards' from the scriptures that I hope to learn by heart in English and in Spanish as I journey. Perhaps, whether in either language, or both, this is a part of my journey that you will be able to share with me?