Rob Bell Interviews John Philip Newell

JPN & Rob Bell
“There is an awareness that Christianity as we know it is in trouble.”
-John Philip Newell
Rob Bell interviews John Philip Newell in a discussion that delves into his most recent publication,  The Rebirthing of God . Recorded for the “Robcast at St Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia, USA,  Rob skillfully guides a fascinating conversation that explores the movements within Christian spirituality in our time. The chemistry between these two teachers makes for a conversation that you don’t want to miss!
Click here to stream the Robcast

Glory Prayer | John Philip Newell | Celtic Spirituality

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Glory be to you

Great Creating Spirit

who shines in distant stars beyond numbering.

And on earth peace.

Glory be to you

Great Creating Spirit

who sings and wings in birds on high.

And on earth peace.

Glory be to you

Great Creating Spirit

whose thunder shakes the shining firmament.

And on earth peace.

Glory glory glory

and on earth peace.

-from Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace by John Philip Newell | photo credit: Chuck Summers

Blessings On This Day | John Philip Newell | Prayer | Celtic Spirituality

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On this day

the blessings of heaven.

On this day

the blessings of earth.

On this day

the blessings of sea and of sky.

To open us to life

to ground us in life

to fill us with life

and with wonder.

On those we love this day

and on every human family

the blessings of heaven

the blessings of earth

the blessings of sea and of sky.

From Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace by John Philip Newell | photo credit: Ben Lindwall

“Broken Harmony: Allowing the Flow of Tears to be Part of Our Healing” John Philip Newell

“Prayer for Presence” and “Chant: As A Deer Longs” John Philip Newell

Remembering the Oneness from Whom We Have Come | John Philip Newell

Listening to the Heartbeat of Life

May Your Love Be Born Again In Me | John Philip Newell | Prayer

e_CES0556In my mother’s womb
you knew me, O God.
In my father’s birth
and in the birth of his father were my beginnings.

At the inception of time
and even before time began
your love conceived of my being.
As you have known me
so may I come to know you.
As you prepared my birth
so may I make way for fresh birthings of your Spirit. As you sowed all things in love
so may your love for all things be born in me,
so may your love be born again in me.

John Philip Newell, “Sounds of the Eternal: A Celtic Psalter”, 82. Photo by Chuck Summers.

 

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The Core of the Human Soul | John Philip Newell | Isle of Iona | Christ of the Celts

JPNewellbyAnnFowlerby John Philip Newell

What is it we have forgotten about ourselves and one another? In the Celtic tradition, the Garden of Eden is not a place in space and time from which we are separated. It is the deepest dimension of our being from which we live in a type of exile. It is our place of origin or genesis in God. Eden is home, but we live far removed from it. And yet in the Genesis account, the Garden is not destroyed. Rather Adam and Eve become fugitives from the place of their deepest identity. It is a picture of humanity living in exile.

The image of God is the essence of our being. It is the core of the human soul.

At the beginning of the Hebrew scriptures, the Book of Genesis describes humanity as made in the “image” and “likeness” of God (Genesis 1:26). This is a fundamental truth in our biblical inheritance. Everything else that is said about us in the scriptures needs to be read in the light of this starting point. The image of God is at the core of our being. And like the Garden, it has not been destroyed. It may have become covered over or lost sight of, but it is at the beginning of who we are.

A nineteenth-century teacher in the Celtic world, Alexander Scott, used the analogy of royal garments. Apparently in his day, royal garments were woven through with a costly thread, a thread of gold. And if somehow the golden thread were taken out of the garment, the whole garment would unravel. So it is, he said, with the image of God woven into the fabric of our being. If it were taken out of us, we would unravel. We would cease to be. So the image of God is not simply a characteristic of who we are, which may or may not be there, depending on whether or not we have been baptized. The image of God is the essence of our being. It is the core of the human soul. We are sacred not because we have been baptized or because we belong to one faith tradition over another. We are sacred because we have been born.

Christ of the Celts, 2008 (Jossey-Bass: San Francisco) 2-4.

 

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A Conversation with Heartbeat Pilgrimage Scholar, Brother Timothy Joyce

Brother Timothy Joyce, of Hingham, MA is a Benedictine monk at Glastonbury Abbey. He was one of the first recipients of Heartbeat’s Pilgrimage Scholarship Award and consequently made the journey to the Isle of Iona for a retreat with John Philip Newell last month. “I have recently celebrated my 80th birthday,” he told us, “I want to mark this rite of passage in my life with an experience such as Iona. I have led Celtic Spirituality retreats and workshops. I want time and space such as the Isle of Iona, with its natural beauty, can provide. I am learning more about myself as well as God, the Christ, the meaning of life in an evolutionary world. Closeness to nature has become very significant in my search.”

Why did you want to go to the Isle of Iona?

I was looking for a place in nature for a retreat to mark some important passages in my life. The opportunity to go to Iona seemed like a providential call. This had been a sacred place on my previous visits and I relished the time and space to pray, reflect, celebrate.  I had also read John Philip Newell’s works and resonated with his teachings.

Br. Timothy Joyce at the Nunnery Ruins on the Isle of Iona.

Br. Timothy Joyce at the Nunnery Ruins on the Isle of Iona

The opportunity to go to Iona seemed like a providential call.

What stood out to you about the experience?

It was a total, embracing experience. Truly a thin place, Iona is a sacred environment – the land, the air, the sea, the abbey church. Then there was this group of 36 wonderful people who were caring, supportive, loving and very open. The meals, the talks,the hiking together, the prayer times in the abbey church were all  joyous encounters with God and each other.

How did the experience impact you?

I believe I came away with a little more urgency of living and spreading the gospel message in all its social dimensions.  I also may be more free to speak and live this message.

Anything else you want to share?

I am truly very grateful for this rich opportunity. It was more than I had hoped for.
Overlooking Columba's Bay

Overlooking Columba’s Bay

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Iona Abbey

Iona Abbey