This post is intended simply to be a congregating point for comments on spirituality as it has been revealed in the Anglican church.
Anglican church history begins somewhere in the semi-legendary, semi-historical accounts of the mission of Joseph of Arimathea and the establishment, or re-establishment, of the original House, built by Jesus, the young Carpenter, for His Mother. You can find the stories elsewhere -- google on Glastonbury, for example. The story has survived the centuries when the Church of Britain lived in uneasy relation with the occupying Roman imperial -- and later papal -- authorities, and the successive invasions of the Anglo-Saxons and the Norman French. It (the ancient story) has even survived the Puritan era, and informs some -- perhaps much -- of William Blake's insights and his sense of freedom to redefine, or I should say, recast, certain orthodoxies.
And the amazing Mother Julian of Norwich, and the old prophetess, Mother Shipton, remain beloved in at least some Anglican circles.
While much of Anglicanism descended into mere sycophancy with British imperialism, a healthy mysticism and spirituality has been preserved always. Persons who might be considered heretics by thoroughgoing Calvinists or other Reformers have found a place in the Anglican communion for centuries.
In the fringes of the Anglican tradition can be found men as diversely orthodox as the Wesley brothers and John Henry Newman -- not that all remained there; Newman eventually became a Roman Catholic (and a cardinal at that) -- but they certainly remained in the Body of Christ. More recently, of course, we have the life-long Anglican Charles Williams, and a slightly later convert, C. S. Lewis.
I'd like to launch the discussion with a tribute to the poet, William Blake, who I think first opened my eyes to the explicitly spiritual value of poetry. I do not claim to fully understand him; I do claim to treasure him; and I am delighted that great thinkers and mystics of the stature of Thomas Merton and Charles Williams draw much from him.
If he had never written anything more than the magnificent "Jerusalem," he should be forever considered among the first rank of poets and seers. If you have not read this poem recently, you can look it up on the net and enjoy it again. As long as William Blake is remembered, there remains the possibility -- perhaps only a possibility -- of bright hope for England.
To Charles Williams I owe my first real understanding of church history as spiritual rather than historical/political/religious reality (Descent of the Dove). His development of the reality of "co-inherence" transformed my understanding of the Atonement.
But let the comments begin. In this discussion, I hope, I have very much to learn. Welcome.
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Note: I intend to set up posts for discussion of Celtic and Scandinavian spirituality soon.