Eremos No. 122Editorial:
One of our tasks in producing the magazine is to choose a cover image that somehow reflects the themes of that issue. This time our choice was influenced by the trapeze image in Valwyn Wishart’s poem ‘Hovering’. The graceful, coordinated movement and playfulness of the trapeze picture somehow remind me of the words of the Sufi poet, Hafiz: ‘You can come to God/ Dressed for Dancing/ Or/ Be carried on a stretcher to God’s ward’.
There is a spirit of playfulness and adventure about Sarah Bachelard’s ‘Inhabiting the Resurrection’. She invites us to move beyond questions of whether the resurrection happened to an imaginative exploration of its meaning for our lives. The ‘inhabiting’ metaphor suggests not only indwelling, but also dressing up for the part as we learn ‘to live as if it were true’. Sarah models a way of ‘doing’ theology that builds a bridge between lived experience and writings within the tradition to reflect on how we are to live in the world.
Somehow Sarah’s notion of inhabiting the resurrection reminds me of Donald Winnicott’s transitional space, the space of creativity and transformation, of play in children, and art, culture and religion in adults. In the next article, Don Meadows uses Winnicott’s ideas to explore connections between childlikeness and healthy and mature religion.
Alan Cadwallader, like Sarah Bachelard, models a process of moving back and forth between his life as text and the scriptural text. He reflects with humour on his own experience of generational change in his attitude to gays and lesbians in light of Jesus’ healing of Bartimaeus. Just as he feels addressed, ‘Alan, son of Harold, have mercy on me’, we might hear ourselves addressed by someone who feels marginalised: ‘______, son/daughter of _______, have mercy on me’.
Alex Nelson’s workshop invites participants to reflect on both the settled and nomadic movements within the tapestry of their lives. (This is a reflective process you could do yourselves.) Noel Davis’ poem, ‘Through the Window’ honours a settled or at-home moment (you will find other poems by Noel in Alex’s article), while Valwyn Wishart’s ‘Hovering’ is about those thresholds, those liminal spaces in our journey.
Durham Smith invites us to move beyond labelling God to discern his presence in the flow of life itself. In his review of Knitter’s Without Buddha I could not be a Christian, John O’Donnell also addresses the futility of naming God, declaring, ‘Over the centuries the Christian Church has spent much effort to package its beliefs in formulas.’
Following an Eremos practice of seeing how artists and writers are keeping spirituality alive in our secular Australian context, Helen Rainger explores redemptive themes in Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet.
Finally Rob Brennan, an experienced Outback tour guide, floats the idea of an ‘Eremos in the Desert’ adventure/retreat in 2014. He would really like to hear what you think of the idea.
In the meantime, here’s to dancing!