Hopkins, Derek Munro (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Spirituality has become a discipline, which in many ways is now separated from religious activity. It has gathered a momentum of its own, whilst at the same time spirituality within churches, particularly the United Reformed Church, appears to be in decline. The contrast between these activities, inside and outside the church, prompted this investigation. The starting point was the author’s personal experience of spiritual renewal through the work of César Manrique in Lanzarote which posed the question, could those experiences be helpful in re-energising the spiritual life of the URC? Bevans’ transcendental model of contextual theology was used to examine and assess Manrique’s work in Lanzarote and three measures of Reformed theology, the Bible, prayer, and engagement with the world as the gauge of authenticity. Three things were identified as being particularly relevant to the URC; firstly enabling people to reconnect with, and to value, their traditions; secondly, engagement with the world, through nature, creating places of opportunity for engagement with God and for spiritual renewal; and thirdly, ‘discovering the music of the silence’ – the process of interior renewal through engagement with the natural world. Ways of implementation and development of these ideas within the URC were examined.
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