This is my second post on the ROMBS Conference that was Sheffield this weekend. In my last post I talked about my journey, and how I became involved in the Mind Body Spirit/ New Spirituality arena. In this post I'd like to tell you about some of the things that touched me deeply over the weekend.
I think the first thing that struck me has also been mentioned by John and Olive Drane, quite simply that there was not a cross word spoken, people listened to one another with grace and respect, and found that they were listened to in the same way. Perhaps this was because no matter what our theological positions or church backgrounds everyone attending was a practitioner, and all were keen to learn from one another.
The second thing about the conference was the creativity that was evident, people were imaginatively engaging with the New Spirituality culture and asking themselves "where can I find God here?"
Included in the creativity was an engagement with Tarot, I have blogged about this before, causing quite a debate! It is enough to say that then as now the inspiration for this engagement comes from John Drane, through his book co-written with Ross Clifford and Philip Johnson; Beyond Prediction. Another inspiration in this field at the weekend was Ole Masden (with thanks to Jonny Baker who was also at the conference for the link to this interview). Ole led the Eucharist on Saturday morning, bringing the elements of creation into the liturgy.
Another area that was new to me was an opportunity to consider talking about crystals, taking into account the well documented thinking about their meanings, and using them as catalysts for conversations. Olive Drane had made a beautiful wheel of life lay out, and I found the chance to sit with Olive, John and a group of others both moving and inspirational!
I attended workshops on Dream Interpretation, and Angels, and enjoyed a late night discussion where the conversation ranged widely, through which we grappled with questions about the wonder of our own createdness and questions about chakras and whether auras are actual phenomena. As someone who sees/ discerns auras when praying for others I contend that they are; more in a post to follow.My reason for being there was as a trustee for the Journey Into Wholeness team, and also as a practitioner within the MBS exhibition arena. One of the things that surprises me again and again is the way that God goes before us, and surprises us by appearing in unusual places. In the exhibitions one of the things that I do is read the Jesus Deck. This is a pack of cards- not tarot, but similar that is designed such that the four suits depict the gospels. I usually pray with the person who comes for a reading and then lay a set of 5 from the shuffled deck, asking the enquirer which they are drawn to. I have never laid a set through which God by the Holy Spirit has not spoken, in a sense they become pictorial words of knowledge. Whether in the exhibitions, at teaching sessions or at home for some reason, and one that I do not fully understand God uses this tool in remarkable ways, it would be wrong to share the stories of others, but this I know, people have received deep touches from God and real emotional and spiritual healing through these encounters. This weekend was no exception.
Two lasting impressions were that God was with us, and is in this, and continues to speak in surprising places. Olive Drane had picked up a book on colourstrology whilst in California, everyone who engaged with it found that it was spookily accurate, it is certainly a good conversation starter, through this unusual medium God spoke to me, a simple command; "be gentle with yourself"! At the final Eucharist led by John and Olive we each felted a stone in response to the scripture, this now sits on my desk as a reminder of the journey I have been on, alongside this sits a pebble on which I have written the word grace, an indication of God's redemptive power at work within us!