Oct 6, 2006
Is Celtic Spirituality nothing more than romanticism?
In America, we are facinated by our Celtic roots, and our German roots, and our Italian roots, and our English roots, and so on. That's because America is a melting pot and we are constantly striving to discover from where we came. In my opinion, that's healthy. There are stories from our past that have lessons to teach us and we should learn from them. That idea didn't come from me of course. There are lots of famous quotes to that effect. Perhaps the most famous is that of Irish born English statesman Edmond Burke: "Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it."
But as we all know, history is a combination of truth, myth, and romanticism. So it goes with ancient Celtic spirituality. Ian Bradley makes this point in his 1999 book, Celtic Christianity, Making Myths and Chasing Dreams.
I think we can learn from the ancients as long as we seek the truth of the stories. Not necessarily the truth of what actually happened (impossible to do when looking at the lives of people living in the 4th century to the 11th century) but the truth that the stories convey. What did these people learn about God? Why were they able to accomplish great feats and spread Christianity back to the parts of Europe that had lost it?
I'm not done with this book yet, but so far it is serving as caution to make sure I'm seeking the Celtic way out of love for God rather than out of a romantic notion of going back to some perceived "good old days" or believing that there are secrets known only to those who lived long ago. The truth is out there for all of us, if only we will seek the ancient paths.
Until next week,