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Well done. I just taught my high school students the Jesus Prayer the other day and was thinking, "I wish we had made some prayer chords." Thanks for the post!

thanks mark - and it was interesting to track back and eavesdrop on the conversation with Joe from your previous thread. To be honest, I can really identify to a certain extent with both sides of your argument. I have been reading the Philokalia and other Orthodox writings - and finding them to be really deep wells of spirituality - but also wrestling with this question of how important it is to not allow those voices to become dislodged from their context. And I guess we're all very sensitive to this question of 'cherry-picking' rather than living deeply in a tradition to allow it to be its most potent. But then, on the other hand - as you say - these voices can't properly be understood to 'belong' only to one expression of church. Perhaps it's the difference between 'traditions' (i.e. of particular denominations for example) and 'the tradition' (which is our common story)?

Matt R, that may be a very helpful distinction. I agree that the "voices" need to be heard in their context and history to be able to grasp the fulness, but at the same time be allowed to feed and resource new cultures... should for example the scriptures only be read in their original language? or the Desert Fathers only be be a resource to those living a seperate, solitary and ascetic life?... A big part of me wants to say that the "cherry picking" thing is a (defensive) red herring, if, and it is a big if, that the spirituality takes on a new life and meaning in a new context... evolves/reflects with the new cuture and setting... does the Jesus Prayer HAVE to be the same? In some ways I don't see a problem with "cherry picking" encountering a particular element of a historic spirituality which connects with God's movement now and then takes on new meaning and new life in a new context... equally negative for me is the simple "apeing" of the past without recontextualising, retheologising etc. and haven't we (the church) continually done thsat with even the "fundamentals" of our faith practice, the eucharist, the catechum, the charismata etc. for example? I think the difference might be when the "cherry picking" is simply stylistic and has no sense of the "history" (whether embraced or not).

Well said Mark. I was wondering yesterday after reading Matt R's comments whether one could live too deeply in a tradition. If we could (and I am not sure we can) 100 percent live a tradition "the way they used to" would it even fit our modern context? I doubt that. We need something along the lines of what I will call a "reverent creativity".
That is, we approach the ancients and their practices recognizing the history of those practices or disciplines. At no point are the old practices wholly ours. We must not pilfer from them like some sort of Pharaoh's tomb. To do that would be to do violence to the practices and therefore violate the spirit of the gospel.
Yet, we also approach them awaiting the creativity of the Spirit (not our own) to breath new life into the old bones. If God used them once then perhaps once again. Let the church be enlivened by the Spirit's new use of old things, while giving due reverence to the great host of saints whose fruit those old things are. "Creative reverence".

Is the Anamchara site working for everyone else? It won't load for me :-(

Libbie, it does seem to be down at the moment... I'll check again tomorrow

Sorry for those of you who've found anamchara to be down - there was a problem and it's sorted now. Thank you. Andrew

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