It's a Christian basics course working with the assumption that things always go better if you start where you are rather than where you're trying to get to — if you begin with the reality rather than the aspiration, if you see what I mean.
So we began this week by imagining one of those large tourist maps with an arrow proclaiming YOU ARE HERE (how do they always know?!)
And we thought about our own lives and our personal spiritual journeys, our specific road less travelled.
I'd thought we might be ambitious enough to draw a map, but that can take ages and it seems a pity to use up our fellowship time in corporate silence, drawing. Besides, some people feel horror strike deep into their soul when you ask them to draw a picture.
So instead, I made a sort of graphic with boxes to fill in (writing is less alarming for most of us), as a focus for our thoughts and starter for our discussion.
As ever, I was fascinated and delighted by the different insights and variety of experience, the richness and texture of spirituality that unfurled in our conversation. We had a good time.
So I thought you might like to have a go. Here's the graphic.
You should be able to print it off in A4 successfully.
- Where I am now — how do life and faith feel to you at the present time? What fills your vision and determines your reality right now?
- My True North — where you're headed, your goal or destination.
- The hidden treasure I found — surprising sources of delight and enrichment you experience on the way.
- Who showed me the way? — Who inspired and taught you?
- Where I left an altar — those special moments of joy or grief, people you loved and lost and still remember, sacred instances like a birth, a marriage, a vocation . . .
- Big crossroads — the life-changing decisions or changes.
- What I lost on the way — and were you sad or glad about that?
- Where I thought I was going but wasn't — sometimes as our spirituality develops, the way we began no longer works, and something new develops.
- Where I got stuck — times I was puzzled or confused, despairing or defeated.
- Who went with me — my true companions on the journey; the ones who understood and shared my spiritual quest.
- The food I ate — what nourished and sustained me.
- The light I carried — what illumined my understanding and showed me the way; and for what or whom I carried a torch, bore a flame; what have I believed in? What keeps the darkness at bay for me?
- What got me started — a person? A book? An idea?
- All at sea — where I am still confused or perplexed. What is hard to understand? Where am I still lost or out of my depth?
Let me know how you get on, and ask me if there's anything you don't understand.