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Saturday, September 09, 2006

What is Desert Spirituality?

You may, dear Reader, be wondering what is Desert Spirituality.

Here is a very good description.

In the Australian context, the desert experience is based, firstly, on the experience of Jesus in the desert and his continuing withdrawal to quiet places. This continues with the early Christian experience of the desert fathers and mothers who withdrew to the desert. We have their writings and the writings of those who came after.

Secondly, Desert Spirituality in the 20th and 21st centuries has an eco-theology. Paul, in his letter to the Romans (1.20) says: For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead. Desert Spirituality seeks to know the Creator through Creation. A third and vital part of Australian Desert Spirituality is an indigenization of faith through an understanding of the landscape of Australia and an understanding of its people whether they are of the First Nations or are of settler status. So often, the Christian tradition in Australia is a transplanted faith and Australians looks to the USA, Europe or the United Kingdom for their faith and whatever is the latest religious experience. This has grave consequences for our stewardship of this nation and our relationship with one another.

Desert Spirituality is a life and a journey taking us to a more basic and elemental way of living our lives, desert-ing consumerism; desert-ing ambition; desert-ing self-centredness. The Desert has much to teach us and, when we physically leave the Desert, we can carry the experience with us in our hearts, our spirits, our lives.