Archive for the 'Celtic Movement' Category

Celtic Missionality

Monday, July 24th, 2006


The Celtic movement combined a profound commitment to trinitarian theology with a deeply experiential/sensual/visual spirituality. Celtic understanding and practice of community and holism was exemplary. And their missiology was highly incarnational with a remarkable understanding of apostolic structures. A Celtic monastic community’s purpose was:

“… to root your consciousness in the gospel and the scriptures; to help you experience the presence of the Triune God and an empowered life; to help you discover and fulfill your vocation; and to give you experience in ministry with seekers.”

As CRM develops and multiplies such apostolic communities around the globe, this isn’t a bad statement of what those communities of transformation should encompass.

A wonderful example of Celtic apostolic passion—firmly grounded in trinitarian spirituality—can be found in this portion of the famous Celtic prayer, “St. Patrick’s Breastplate:”

We rise today
In power’s strength, invoking the Trinity,
Believing in threeness, confessing the oneness,
Of creation’s Creator.

For to the Lord belongs salvation,
And to the Spirit belongs salvation,
And to Christ belongs salvation,
May your salvation, Lord, be with us always.

Celtic Passion

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

Celtic Cross And Church

“I will kindle my fire this morning,
In the presence of the holy angels of heaven,
God, kindle Thou in my heart within

A flame of love to my neighbor,
To my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all,
To the brave, to the knave, to the thrall …”

- Celtic Prayer to begin the day from the Carmine Gadelica

“The Celtic Christian Movement proceeded to multiply mission-sending monastic communities, which continued to send teams into settlements to multiply churches and start people in the community-based life of full devotion to the Triune God.”
- George G. Hunter in The Celtic Way of Evangelism

There is much to learn from the Celtic movement as we seek to re-introduce authentic, expressions of orthodox, biblical Christianity in the increasingly postmodern, “neo-barbarian” Western world. Hunter’s book, and other studies, provide provocative case studies of a movement replete with missiological implications for our era.

For CRM, there are striking (and deliberate) parallels between this ancient movement and InnerCHANGE and NieuCommunities. May God multiply all such movements.

The Celtic Movement and Apostolic Ecclesiology

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006

Comparing Celtic monastic communities and contemporary (or historical) local churches is like comparing apples to oranges. Monastic communities were not the same as the local churches they created.

ireland.jpg Iona-1.jpeg Patrick.jpeg Celtic Cross.jpeg
A fairer comparison would be to compare local congregations of today with the local churches that were spawned by monastic communities. The diocesan structures actually emerged as a result of the apostolic activity of Celic monastic communities. The historical interplay in the centuries following Patrick between the parish/ecclesiastical structure that evolved and the lingering effects of the monastic communities is a fascinating study in movement dynamics.

Celtic monastic orders were:

Sociologically flexible
Geographically mobile
Relationally transient

These communities were a “way station” for most converts. Except for the “2nd decision” people who made up the core of the monastic community, most participants were transient. They moved through the community and into local churches spawned by the monastic community. For the majority of those who were converted, the monastic community was not their permanent spiritual home.In the early stages of the movement, the abbot of the monastic community was the primary ecclesiastical authority and exercised his leadership over the monastic community as well as the churches the community spawned.

St. Patrick.jpeg 2002-09-10-2Island-of-Iona_0877.jpg Celtic Ruin.jpeg Cross silouette.jpeg
Historically, a shift inevitably occurred where authority shifted from the monastic communities to an ecclesiastical hierarchy. This shift was closely related to the leveling off, institutionalization, and even stagnation of Irish Christianity. Some church historians would probably describe this as “Catholicism in Ireland coming of age,” but in fact, this shift would more accurately be the beginning of an institution gaining ascendancy over a movement, modality over sodality, and the pastoral over the apostolic. (more…)