Just as I was wondering what I might write about this week in the Plot107 blog I was sent an article by my good friend Mick Ibbotson, called “Why the church needs to return to its pastoral roots” I liked it so much and it got me thinking – so now let me share some of those thoughts.
The article starts by explaining the impact that modern farming has on the world and our environment, and shows how in the long term this is at best totally wasteful, and at worst not sustainable. It then explores alternatives to such “industrial” farming methods – but it also looks at the church and how its role has also changed – how it became in modern times, more and more bound to and by its’ buildings, and how this has often led to it becoming inward looking and facing sustainability issues of its own.
The article then goes on to describe a very different tradition of Christian church, the Saxon “minster”: “In the north and west of Britain, and in Ireland, during the fifth to tenth centuries the early Saxon/Celtic church developed a way of living the Gospel …. in which both lay and monastic people lived side-by-side and worked with the land, supporting themselves and the people around, both spiritually and materially. They lived so lightly that they left barely a trace.”
“Such a community (would) pray regularly, work sustainably with the land, offer hospitality, be a centre of theological and ecological learning and of permacultural research, and a place of art and beauty.”
Now the reason I was particularly interested when Mick pointed me in the direction of this article is because it came alongside another set of conversations I’d had with other friends about “New Monasticism” and living in community. Now before you all start shouting and asking ….. no I’m not leaving home to become a monk, but learning lessons from the monastic approach is something that has interested me for sometime. As you know as well as the regular Space to Grow sessions we’ve recently set up a House Church on a Sunday morning in our home, from this we do hope that we’ll pull together a group of people who feel that they want to explore those issues of living lightly, prayer, and sharing hospitality.
To read the full article look at: http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/why-church-needs-return-its-pastoral-roots-permaculture-visions-rural-minster