Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Times move on

Time has come the Walrus said to speak of many things,
Of ships and seas and sealing rings
Cabbages and Kings.

I have decided that this blog is to close for now.
I have said much,
but I do not want to say more.
My theologising about pilgrimage has come to an end.... for now,
at least in this form.
Thanks for following me
if you have?

More over to the new interactive blog,
Yes! you can post on it as well.
here is the url

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

I am still alive!

If you are reading this you are to be appalled and thanked. For it means that I have not lost everyone along the way. So many weeks since my last post. I expect that everyone has gone someplace else. But as you have come to this blog I owe you an explaination.
As you will have seen I injured my knees last autumn. They have taken a long time to recover and although they do not cause me pain anymore in normal life, when I walk any distance I know about it.
This has had a number of knock on effects and to put it bluntly I have become fat( some think that I was fat already) so walking become event more arduous. So I have rather retired to parish work, mostly in the study for the winter. Coupled with that has been a withdrawal of my leadership of Peterborough Pilgrims so that others can take the lead. Therefore the sum of all this has been that I have somewhat stopped living on planet pilgrim.
This does not mean that I have been inactive. I have been working to establish a Free School at the church where I serve. It is going well but there is much still to do before the D of E says yes and we can start poring concrete.
So what has been exciting me recently- This has. It is called the WMAP. ( Thanks to Brian Cox on the telly) It is a photograph of  the sky showing the background microwaves that come from the beginning of everything. It shows that the radiation is not even and that is why the universe came to be . It is a blueprint for everything, and it came into existence at almost the instant that the big bang happened .
We are not talking days here but millionths of a second. The way it works is this. The slightly denser parts became more dense until they became atoms, which in turn gathered and gave birth to stars, then galaxies and so on. In this blue print is the potential for everything. It is more than potential. Once
this came into existence, everything as we know it came into being in it right order. There is no random chance here. Therefore evolution from stars to people is causation. There is no room for 'it sort of just happened' we are not the product of random chance. I some unfathomable way I am part of this early map. The old chestnut of we are a product of random evolution is now dead as a theological question. Evolution is only a bottom up explanation..I am here, where did I come from? I can from an ape who came from a fish, who came from a single green cell. All it does is to trace my family tree backwards along a predetermined path. And who determined what should be? Do you need two guesses?

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The first step is always the hardest

Today I have begun a new adventure. I am going to Santiago. I am going
on a pilgrimage. Today is the first day of that pilgrimage. Well want's
new about that? 'Have you not been on many pilgrimages"? you may ask
me. And it is true. I have walked from many places to Santiago. I am no
stranger to the Camino in its many forms. This one will be different!
Today I have accepted the discipline of the long walk. I am not fit. I
am going to lose three or four stones. My dream weight is twelve stone
something. I have a serious knee problem that is still with me after three
months. Walking is difficult.I do not think that I can walk more than
a mile or so at the moment. I am going out for a short walk this
afternoon to begin the training. So what is distinctive about this
pilgrimage? I am going to walk from my own front door to Santiago
via Portsmouth and Santander in 30 to 40 days. I will start on
Sunday 14 August and arrive sometime mid September. Due to
illness I did not complete the walk to Portsmouth last year. So
it means the most of the route is unknown to me. However I do
know that the northern coast route and the Primative are well
known for their difficulty. Therefore the need to lose a deal of
weight and get properly fit this time.
Sometime ago a friend gave me a CD set called "Finding Santuary"
by Abbott Christopher Jamison. ( It is worth buying your own copy)
In it he discusses the application of monastic life to daily life. I
have been impressed with his teaching. The
life of which he speaks resonates with much that I understand
through pilgrimage. It does however go much further. The
consolations of pilgrimage are described but they are only the
foothills of much higher mountains. So this coming pilgrimage
is to be a great exploration of the hills now seen
from afar. The route I have chosen will be very quite. I do not
expect that  many pilgrims will come into view,that will add to
this time alone with God.
If you want to come along, you are welcome. It will not be easy
in any way.
But for now I must get this knee better. I need healing so pray for me.

Monday, 13 December 2010

An outing to London.

Off to London last saturday to speak to the Confraternity of Pilgrims to
Rome. I really nice bunch of people. They all seemed to have walked
considerable distances, except the cyclists who had ridden even further.
The meeting was held in St James Church rooms at the side of the campus.
I think that I was disappointed with the church, which I had a little while
to look around before I was on. There was nothing about St James.
and nothing about modern day pilgrimage to Santiago.
I gave my talk about the Portsmouth Pilgrimage as part of a major
route to the tomb of St James. They were receptive, but it became
clear that they were rather daunted by the idea of a full blown Santiago
pilgrimage in the UK.
So much has been lost over these last 6oo years.
That is longer than the Moorish occupation of Spain! It is indeed a
long way to reach backwards. To the days before the reformers,
who had little understanding in these matters, who condemned
Pilgrimage as idolatry.
On the other hand here we were in a Church dedicated to
St James. Yes, it is a Wren church, but it takes it's name from the
locality and that comes from the ancient palace of St James,
the official royal address of our Sovereign Lady. All ambasadors
present their letters of authority to the court of St James. I
think we can go a little further. England is the only
place that had, and some say still has, a piece of St James, the
relic of his hand given to Reading Abbey by Henry I. This is
some believe the same hand that is in Marlow Roman Catholic
Church today. No other country has such presence of St James
as we have.
So looking back over the centuries, what must the devotion have
been like in those days. We have much to recover.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Is this the end of things!

If the following should seem a moan, I am sorry. It is meant to be an honest
reflection on the moment. As you will see it is a long time since I blogged.
In fact it is six weeks now. I expect that I have dropped off the radar
of many, which is a pity. Readers are hard to come by. I once talked to
a fellow blogger about what agonies I went though about getting a
readership together. She was much more successful than me and
had, by my standards a vast following. As I described my feelings,
the way I search to see who has visited my pages, she nodded her
head, she did the same thing. What comfort, I am not alone.
So where have I been all these weeks! The answer is,
nowhere. I have been holed up in Northampton. I have purchased a new
computer. I am deeply in love with it as it is an AppleMac. Clean, well
designed, fast and full of new toys. Getting it sorted has been a trial
and a joy. It thinks the way I do, unlike anything that
Mr Gates has had his hands on. But that is only the excuse. The
truth is that I have been out of sorts with planet pilgrim in all
its many forms!  You are wondering why this should be.
For that answer to have to go back to a few days before I went off
on the last pilgrimage. To the beginning of October.
It had been a warm week, summer was having its last flourish.
Then on the Saturday it rained. Warm gentle rain that brought a
welcome freshness to the day. So Liz and I went to Tesco.
On my feet I had a pair of my beloved crocks. They were
a little old and so had a rather worn underside. Walking into
Tesco over the zebra crossing my feet went from under me and
I went down on my knees. I landed in the prayer position. And
it hurt, especially in my left knee. I went on with the days'
business. The pain seemed to quickly go. And a few days
later I went on the pilgrimage from Porto. During that time my knees
began to tell me the damage that I had done. I didn't believe them
and carried on as best I could. Now I have found out that I
have torn the ligaments on the inside of the knee. I am also told
that it will take two months minimum and up to 12 months to heal.
I may also need a graft to bring about true recovery. So I hobble along,
cruising from furniture to doorpost like a child learning to walk. All
my plans for the next Camino in tatters, wondering if and when I will
walk with ease again.
The walk from Porto was a wonder, if rather painful at time. I had
some thoughts about Jacob. He was the guy who wrestled
with God all night until the dawn when God touched his hip and
made him lame. Ever after that he walked with a limp, to mark him out!
As the days unfolded I found my thoughts turning back to that story.
Is this my future? Then it came to me a few days ago.
Pilgrimage is meant to mark you. You should never be the same
again. I have wrestled with the Camino for six years now and I now
carry the scars in my body of those fights.
But does it have to bring the walking to an end?

Monday, 1 November 2010

We're back and not a little changed!

I am back from the Camino Portugues and from a short holiday in South
West England. Did you miss me. A month has gone by, where has it gone?
 I see that this blogger is delivering another strange format once more.
 How do you guys do yours and produce such a good
shape? It always gives me trouble and I have to spend hours sorting
 in out. Anyway enough of the moans. The pilgrimage was good. Mixed
weather. Good company,but not an easy trip with many reversals.
 This time I had a real problem with my left knee.As leader I felt
that I had to go on as best I could, whilst keeping up with the group.
Therefore I walked over 100k in some pain.
The walking was not too difficult, the legs kept swinging
back and forth. Any lateral pressures would produce sharp pains. This
was on top of a constant base line ache. It really taught me the meaning
 of pilgrimage as a lifestyle..... We keep going, because we
keep going and that is what we do. And we do it until the day
that we walk  into heaven. The pain is nothing compared to the joy of
that day. And it was wonderful to get to Santiago 
and rest. Now two weeks later, it still hurts, but is getting better.
On arrival at Santiago I said that I am not going to go again.
As I said it I knew that I didn't
really mean it. Perhaps I could walk from Northampton to Santiago
next year via Portsmouth; Santander; Oviedo; Lugo ....
... It does have a certain appeal.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Only a few days now

The City of Porto.

 The River Douro
The Cathedral in Porto
I am nearly done. I have prepared the pilgrimage for the group
that will be leaving on Sunday morning. I still have to buy a few things.
These are mostly art materials for the group. This pilgrimage is to be
a prayer school and will included prayer through the creative. I
have never led a pilgrimage quite like this. It is my aim to
discover more of the experience of prayer that we call pilgrimage.

A few days ago I came across a rather interesting definition of
a true pilgrim. It did not depend on walking or on staying in the
right places, in fact it stayed well away from any definition of
that kind. Rather it focused on the heart of the pilgrim. Most
especially what happened after the return. It said~ A true pilgrim
is one who takes the lessons gained on pilgrimage and applies them
to their lives when they return. Now that is an interesting one, is
it not? By that definition there are not as many real pilgrims around
as we would like to think. And more than that, horror of horrors, some
of the real pilgrims to Santiago went on a coach!

So it is of great concern to me that more than an interesting time is
had by all. If you will, perhaps you will pray for us. That there
maybe a real encounter with our Lord Jesus that changes lives and
makes a difference to us all when we return. And we will pray for