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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Monday, April 14, 2008

Clergy Conference

Our annual Clergy Conference was last week. It was held at our diocesan campground, with most clergy staying at a nearby motel (a no-frills operation, but adequate). However, the modest accommodations were offset by great food, prepared by the hard-working camp staff and shared in good company. Among the latter was Fr. John's sweet wife, who was able to join us (not always possible, with her work schedule). We'd only met once or twice before, and I had great fun getting to know her better. She's a keeper.

This years' speaker-- the Rev. Dr. Arnold Klukas, a professor out of Nashotah-- talked about contemplative spirituality in the tradition of some of the early mystics-- John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, that sort of thing. It was interesting, and a good reminder, albeit frustrating to some of my esteemed colleagues who seemed to hear in the talk a devaluation of more active, mission-oriented spirituality.

Honestly, I fail to see the problem. Scratch that-- I do understand what the concern was; I just don't think the way they do-- that this is an "either/or" situation. In fact, I'll go further: I believe that when both sides of the coin are not present, God's presence in the world is not as "living and active" as it can be. Sister Judith's hermit prayers and solitary intercessions are just as critical to the inbreaking of the Kingdom of God as Deacon John's "roll up your sleeves in Jesus' name and dive in," no more and no less. Each supports and enriches the other, and we lose sight of that to our spiritual peril.


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