LISTENING FOR THE HEARTBEAT OF GOD
Author J. PHILIP NEWELL
Publisher PAULIST PRESS
Back in the later years of the twentieth century Celtic Christianity and the spiritual life presented therein because the latest fad to pass through the churches. Some folks got quite hooked. Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Celtic cross and the emphases of that branch of ancient Christianity in the British Isles was interesting to many. This little book was first published almost twenty years ago and is really good primer on the subject. Basically the author begins in the fourth century with Pelagius a British monk and teacher and steadily leads the reader through to George Macleod and the Iona Community formed in the nineteen thirties and still going strong. This community represents something of the heart of the Celtic view. The essence of the subject matter is the split that took place between the Christian doctrine coming from Rome and Augustine and the perceptions of Pelagius and others in the far distant islands that now make up the UK and Ireland. Augustinian theology and doctrine took the field, the depravity of man, the essential evil that he saw in the Creation and human sexuality became dominant and gradually the Celtic view of the goodness of God in creation and in man was made to retreat into the far corners of the islands. On the one hand the emphasis of Augustine that has so impacted us all seems to represent Peter the apostle and the Pelagian more represents the Apostle John leaning on the breast of Jesus and hearing His heartbeat. It is probably only right to say that this is an overly demarcated distinction but the author sees that both emphases are necessary and the church should be considering both prayerfully and seeking a union of the two. An honest reader following through these short and interesting chapters will probably agree with the conclusions made. So, here we are, the more mystical spiritual view of John and Apostle, contrasted with the perceived practicality of the Apostle Peter. Overstatement for sure, but some lessons can be learned and this book will help both to instruct the reader in some British church history and to provoke thought and consideration of the true balancing of essential Christian truth.