By H. Paul Santmire
Earlier than Nature caps a collection of subject matters first dropped at the fore in Santmire’s past paintings, so much particularly the vintage The Travail of Nature. the following Santmire maintains the pursuit of a theology sure up with nature and its situation, specifically the fragility and fervent expectation of nature’s redemption. Santmire invitations readers on a theological and non secular trip to a prayerful and contemplative wisdom of the Triune God, during which practitioners are inducted right into a bountiful courting with the cosmic and common ministry of Christ and the Spirit uniting all of nature in one imaginative and prescient of desire and anticipation.
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8 He juxtaposes Quaker silent worship, Pentecostal speaking in tongues (glossolalia), and high Anglican, Catholic, or Lutheran liturgy. These seemingly dramatically different forms of worship, Baer argues, actually have a similar, even identical, spiritual function. ” Contrary to uninformed speculation and opinion, Baer observes, speaking in tongues, in particular, is not typically a form of religious hysteria, nor is it usually an uncontrolled expression of emotion. The glossolaliac is typically fully aware of what he or she is doing and can also stop at will.
Ponder this question. Do not those of us who are Christians have the right, and indeed, in these times when the whole earth is “groaning in travail,” the obligation, to set forth the spiritual meanings of our own encounters with nature, just as much as Native Americans, Buddhists, Hindus, and others undeniably have the right and obligation to do? Indeed, on a more global scale, how will any genuine kind of “interreligious dialogue” about the earth groaning in travail ever emerge if all the conversation partners in such a dialogue are not encouraged to set forth the diverse particularities of their own religious traditions?
This is not an original thought on my part, by any means. Practices have been celebrated by many Christian spiritual guides (and by many in other religions as well) for centuries. Just think of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, a work that has shaped Jesuit spirituality ever since the sixteenth century. 2 Here, however, I don’t want to survey the variety of religious practices, Introducing a Way of Prayer | 23 past or present, or review theories about them. 3 I must stress at the outset that to highlight practices in this way is not to suggest that our practices somehow can call God to us, so that we can then know God.
Before Nature: A Christian Spirituality by H. Paul Santmire