Monday, 24 October 2011


I have been trying to write this for a while but I keep finding there is something else jumping into my head to distract me! Over the last few months I have been thinking a lot about how we can create spiritual moments in the midst of the very secular environment which is Sunday@thepub – I will need to blog about that in itself I think – but for now to bring you up to speed it’s a kind of fresh expression in the making. We meet in one of the local pubs each Sunday night and we have used nooma to help us in the past and we have just created another event at the pub once a month which is a chance to watch nooma and discuss faith issues over a curry.

Anyway the whole spirituality thing was highlighted again while I was away at the Breakout conference we had the opportunity to get involved in discussions around particular topics. One of the sessions I attended was about New Monastic’s I found it very helpful and challenging, for myself I know I’ve found it increasingly hard to find a spirituality that works for me and as such I often find myself all over the place, but New Monasticism seemed to strike a chord although I’m still trying to work out what that means and how it might work.

This interest was brought to the fore again after spending a few days on holiday in Krakow, Poland. We visited lots of Catholic churches while we were there and I have to say it was inspiring. The buildings were beautiful, but what really struck me was a palpable sense of God’s presence.  Almost all the churches had people in them that were deep in prayer and reflection, it was incredibly moving.

So back to Sunday@thepub... How then do you create spiritual moments in the midst of this secular environment ... the guy that spoke about New Monasticism talked about ‘finding stillness’ – not in the silent sense but in your inner self. I think this is very helpful... but only if you can find that sense of stillness... We at Sunday@thepub are still some way off that I think, but it’s worth mulling over a little more. 

The other thing that has struck me recently which I think I need to reflect on more is seeing everything around us as a spiritual encounter or as Rob Bell might call it ‘everything is spiritual’. I think these two things could help us in this reflection, but I would love to hear if anyone else has experience in this area. 


  1. Hi Rob, good to see you again last night! The link to New Monasticism is to the site of someone I know, John Skinner, who was one of the founders many years ago of The Northumbria Community. I wonder if you have looked at their work? They are led these days by Roy Searle and others, and have a place at Felton which is their 'mother house', Well worth a visit! Talk soon - Tim

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  3. (bad grammar in above post which I removed).

    I see you have some landscape-y pics on here to illustrate the Spiritual. You have in the past described my bird watching as 'a waste of time', but I get to go to places such as these and sit and enjoy the peace and the space and contemplate. There has been some (not enough!) research done which has gone some way to 'prove' that engagement with the natural world does us good, and I believe that the more we in awesome wonder consider the works His hand has made we see more beauty and more of God.
    As Princeton Seminary's Charles Hodge, widely considered the father of modern evangelical theology, put it in 1859: "Nature is as truly a revelation of God as the Bible; and we only interpret the Word of God by the Word of God when we interpret the Bible by science."

    So there.

  4. Tim, thanks, yeh i have been to the Northumbria Community and i'm interested in exploring more of that.

    Rob, yeh i don't mind the picturesque stuff... its the bird watching bit i cant get my head around! lol But you are right, certainly the more i'm 'in it' the better it gets and the more of God you see... i suppose i want to discover that stillness in the busy places, where its less obvious, so in the midst of urban life...

  5. It strikes me, Rob, that what you're trying to do with Sunday @the pub is to break down what many would see as the false divide between 'spiritual' and 'secular'. Simply acknowledging God's presence in all places is a great way to do this, and may well be a means of grace, enabling others to begin to glimpse God in their midst - more power to you in this.

  6. Thanks John, I think that is the phrase i would use as well, It strikes me that when i first explored my vocational call to lay ministry; that it was to try to bridge the gap between the world and church. The more i have thought about it though i wonder if its really about sacred-secular.