Mar 26, 2006

What made the Celts different?

In the discussion of whether or not Hunter in his THE CELTIC WAY OF EVANGELISM correctly explained the early Celtic form of Christianity we should consider who the Celts were, and why they were successful in spreading Christianity across Europe.

The Celts were a group of people who, by the time of Saint Patrick, were concentrated in Ireland. However, they also had presence in Britain, Wales, and Scotland. They had a great respect for the natural world and believed that men are never far removed from the "other world". Spiritual aspects were seen in all areas of life. Consider the famous prayer, Saint Patrick's Breastplate, which in part reads:

"Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right,
Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length,
Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me."

Read the whole prayer here: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Poetry/StPatrick.html

With the Celts' natural bent to see spiritual aspects in all of life, it wasn't too much of a stretch to accept the concept of the Creator. Moving from that to accepting only ONE God took time, however.

What do you think? Could this in part explain why the Celts, and the Irish in particular, accepted Christianity without bloodshed (unusual for the history of the spread of Christianity.) Let me hear your thoughts.

Mar 13, 2006

The Celtic Way of Evangelism by George G. Hunter, III

Blogger Randy guessed right! (See his comment under the previous post.) I was influenced by readying this little book. The subtitle sums it up: How Christianity Can Reach the West...Again. Now, before you size me up as being overly romantic about our Celtic past you should know that I'm reading (and have read) other perspectives as well. What's valuable about this book is what we can learn about how the ancient Irish monks were so successful at spreading their faith.

Here are a few lines from some of the book's reviewers on Amazon. If you've read the book, let me know if you agree or disagree. We'll see where the discussion goes from there.

"This book is a wake up call to The Church to go back to its roots and find a bibilical way to do church."

"The basic issue/problem with this book and probably more specifically, its author, is that it ignores the most important of all facts concerning the Celtic church: it was Orthodox... Mr. Hunter appears to isolate minute detail and parade it through his pages as "facts" that "support" his theory. The only trouble is: Mr. Hunter's religion is only about 500 years old, bearing no resemblance whatsoever to that of St. Padraig, and Celtic Christianity dates to at least the third century, possibly the second. (Depending on which history you lean toward and whether or not you accept the Coptic Connection theory. )"

"...this is not a "how to" book. It is a lesson from history that requires the reader to think and decide how to apply its message in our present world. My experience has been that too many Christians' eyes glaze over when asked to read history and too many would rather have clear steps (1.2.3. etc.) laid out for them."

"...the gist of the book can be summed up in a little summmary table that Hunter gives contrasting what he believes is the Celtic Way vs. the Roman Way. The Roman way said that a person has to believe before they can belong. The Celtic way said that a person must belong in order to believe. "

AND, HERE'S SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT FROM ANOTHER REVIEWER:
"He also accuses the "Roman" wing of the church imposing her liturgy on the Celtic churches around the 5th Century. Sure, the tonsure and dating of Easter were brought in but this was quite a while before a standard liturgy was imposed throughout Europe. Check out the Gallican Liturgy and Stowe Missal. I get the impression that the author drew examples from some stories about St. Patrick and ideas of modern authors to back up his own ideas of evangelism. I appreciate his understanding of theories and theology of evangelis, I just don't see how it is based on solid study of the Celtic church."

____There are many more interesting reviews of Hunter's book on Amazon. I'd love to hear what you think. Were you one of the reviewers? Let us know.

Mar 7, 2006

Article to Check Out:

Saving Celtic Christianity by Loren Wilkinson

I'd like to know what others think of this article. The author makes a strong case for why Christians should be interested in the growing popularity of Celtic spirituality and also why much of it is myth and wishful thinking. What do you think?

I'll chime in later.

Mar 3, 2006


Welcome to my blog on Celtic spirituality. Most of what I know is based on Irish history, but we'll learn together and add more as time goes by.

I believe that we have a spiritual heritage left to us and that by studying the lives of ancient people we can uncover the voices that speak to us, learn the lessons they have to teach us, and hear the voice of God.

One voice I listened to is in my new book, Brigid of Ireland, released this month by Monarch Books. Click on the link for more information.