Yes, I know this is a pagan site, but I think it’s fair to say that many of us take a wide interest in matters spiritual, and with that in mind I hope you won’t mind me straying from the path for a few moments to tell you about an interesting-sounding Christian event, coming up in May.
Yesterday’s Metro freesheet – available daily at all good railway stations – carried a regrettably short item on a ‘fire-breathing vicar’ who’ll be doing a turn at what Metro describes as a “new age festival” called The Spirit of Life, which is to be held at Manchester Cathedral on 2 May 2011.
Remarkable enough, one might think, to find a vicar having anything to do with anything New Age; but the article quotes Rev. Andy Salmon of Salford (the aforesaid breather of fire) as saying that:
“[Christians] should be open to exploring human spirituality.”
The event, says the article, will also feature “tarot cards, crystal healing and dream interpretation”, and this has caused a bit of a rumpus amongst more traditionally minded Christians, who’ve raised objections at the appalling
blasf blaphes blamesf unholiness of it all.
In fact, while the popular media, including the Daily Mail (renowned purveyors of quality, well-researched news – cackle) are universally reporting this as what us lot might consider a standard “Mind, Body and Spirit” event, in this case the Spirit of Life festival does actually appear to be a specifically Christian do, albeit focusing on practices outside the Anglican and Catholic mainstream. The idea being to celebrate the wide variety of Christian spiritual traditions, including some that aren’t so familiar in what I might (carefully) call ‘garden-variety’ British Christianity.
As the Manchester Cathedral website describes it, the event will include:
“[W]orkshops and stalls covering poetry, Franciscan spirituality, arts and crafts, healing, icons, angels, meditation, personality profiling, music and blessings, labyrinths, dream interpretation, Christian symbolism of gem stones and Celtic saints, prayer bead making, choral evensong, foot and hand massage, Taize chants and, finally, fire breathing!”
Phew. You can see why we thought some of our readers might find it interesting.
Incidentally, I know most of you won’t have entertained the notion, but just in case: no, we’re not trying to convert anyone; and no, we’re not mounting a covert Christian fifth column trying to bring down evil paganism from within*. It’s just that we know that many pagans are, indeed, open to exploring human spirituality.
But if you’re interested and would like to know more, you can visit the Spirit of Life website HERE, the Manchester Cathedral website HERE, and both carry links to the associated Eventbrite page to buy tickets, should you fancy going along. Prices are £5.78** per adult, or the same price for one family ticket (admitting one adult and up to four children).
* But then, isn’t that exactly what a fifth-column member would say? Ooo-eee-ooo-eee-ooo…
** Charge includes Eventbrite’s transaction charge, which we know so well...