Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pilgrimage as formation for chaplaincy

Both my pilgrimage along el camino and my week with the brothers at Taizé are part of an independent guided study subject undertaken towards a coursework masters, with the topic 'Missional Spirituality'.

My particular mission context is the Australian Defence Force and that is why there are two aspects to my study tour. Far more than most westerners, soldiers are communal people; they eat and sleep, party and fight, live and die together; something that so many churches can learn from. Oh, and soldiers no more choose their comrades than Christians choose their brothers and sisters. This is why I'll be spending a week at Taizé with Catholic and Protestant brothers: eating, sleeping, playing and praying with those who share the rhythms that I need to develop for a spirituality of mission.

But soldiers are also nomads. It is because of their love for their country that they do not stay within its borders. They are a people who belong to each other more than they belong to a particular place. Soldiers also know solitude, silence and walking – this is why I'll be hiking 900km of the camino and keeping silence between breakfast and lunch.

So during the study tour I'll be wearing my boots: having something with me – on me – at all times to remind me why I'm walking or staying, why I'm on my own or in the monastic community, and why I'm silent or speaking to strangers.


  1. Interesting. I am trying to treat my trip to Cornerstone Festival as a way of learning how my life should be lived. I hope I get to spend a lot of time with my thoughts and my Bible during that week....and meet people who value the same things I do.

  2. Thanks for your interaction... I hope your trip brings what you want.