Celtic Christianity and nature

Anxiety about the natural world is high and with good reason. Surprisingly, perhaps, the earliest days of Christianity in the British Isles have something vital to teach us.

In this new episode of The Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and I take a lead from a wonderful new book, The Naked Hermit: A Journey Into the Heart of Celtic Britain, by Nick Mayhew-Smith.

It makes several arresting claims. For example, the early missionaries, before the Synod of Whitby, engaged in a deep dialogue with the indigenous druids and pagans of these islands to forge a new engagement with the natural world under its Creator-God. They realised that in dark caves, icy waters, mountaintops and sacred groves, the divine could be found and that a lost paradise was scarcely a touch away.

So what has this Celtic vision of life in all its fullness got to teach us today? Could Christianity regain the sense that nature shares the yearning for God? Might this ancient vision become a crucial resource for a time facing environmental degradation and possible collapse?

The many previous discussions between myself and Rupert Sheldrake can be found on youtube, streamed, Spotify, iHeartRadio, as a playlist on SoundCloud, and on iTunes.

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