28
Jun
19

6.28.19 … what makes pilgrimages so spiritually universal and paradoxical? …*

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, Sardis Baptist Church – Charlotte NC, 2019 Labyrinth Walks, Diarmaid MacCulloch, “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years”:

I have to blame you, my friends, for my current situation. So many of you are readers and have recommended books to me in person and over social media, that I maintain a list. About six months ago, I started putting those books on hold at my local library. At first they arrived sporadically, and I would go to the library, skim through the book and decide whether to check it out and read it. But in the last month, there’s been an onslaught of on hold books becoming available, and each time I have found them intriguing enough to check out. I now have at least a dozen books in the trunk of my car. I am not a fast reader. And so I furiously try to read them but I’m getting nowhere.

The book I’m currently reading is Diarmaid MacCulloch’s “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years” and is over 1000 pages long. So far, it is a very interesting read. I am not 50 pages into it, and already I have found multiple ideas that I had not ever contemplated although I have studied history for most of my life. Fortunately, I also have the audio version so if as I ride around I listen and then go back and re-read the parts that jumped out at me.

I came to Sardis today because I thought a short walk would be nice. But I ended up pulling out the 1000 page book.

I have enjoyed my time in the shade listening to the birds and cicadas and awaiting the afternoon heat. It is currently 88° with a high of 91. Next week it will be in the upper 90s approaching 100°.

I have several friends walking the Camino in Spain. Currently Europe is experiencing a heat wave. I just checked the weather and it looks fairly pleasant at Santiago de Compostela. I was very blessed to walk in upper 70s and low 80s in early August 2014. Buen Camino to my friends!

My thoughts were drawn to the Camino as I read this paragraph in the Introduction to MacCulloch‘s book:

“Even now, by no means all sections of the Christian world have undergone the mutation of believing unequivocally in tolerating or accepting any partnership with other belief systems. In particular I highlight the huge consequences when the fifteenth-and sixteenth-century monarchs of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) reinvented their multi-faith society as a Christian monopoly and then exported that single-minded form of Christianity to other parts of the world. I develop the theme which became (rather to my surprise) a ground-bass of the narrative in my previous book, Reformation: the destruction of Spanish Judaism and Islam after 1492 had a major role in developing new forms of Christianity which challenged much of the early Church’s package of ideas, and also in fostering the mindset which led in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the Enlightenment in Western culture. “

The first persons of faith who pilgrimaged across northern Spain coming to Santiago de Compostela were experiencing what MacCulloch describes as a multi-faith society. Could that history entrenched in the very ground you walk on, that multifaith history, be what makes that pilgrimage and other pilgrimages so spirituality universal and paradoxical?

I will ponder that.

6.28.19


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