A Widespread Hunger: Traditions of Christian Spirituality Series Index

Nowadays, in the Western world, there is a widespread hunger for spirituality in all its forms. This is not confined to traditional religious people, let alone to regular churchgoers. The desire for resources to sustain the spiritual quest has led many people to seek wisdom in unfamiliar places.

So Philip Sheldrake begins his preface to each of the books in the Traditions of Christian Spirituality series in the early through late 2000s. Sheldrake laments that Christianity, with a few exceptions, is not seen as such a resource. I think for many of us, the lament is more that we ourselves have trouble seeing Christianity as such a resource. That is part of why I began reading some of this series.


Photo mine, 2016.

The first book of the series I’ve read is Alan Bartlett’s A Passionate Balance: The Anglican Tradition. I will be posting about it on 2 October 2016 and each Sunday after that through the month. I have a lot to say about Bartlett’s Balance; I can’t promise to have as much to say about the others.

In the meantime, I’d like to remind you that I’ve posted a schedule already and that I would be happy for guest posts, if anyone wants to join in.


Alan Bartlett, A Passionate Balance: The Anglican Tradition

  1. “The Golden Mediocrity”: Bartlett’s Anglican Tradition
  2. Anglican Orthodoxy
  3. Anglican Reason
  4. Anglican Aesthetics
  5. Anglican Crisis – Postponed until I have something worth saying

Susan J. White, The Spirit of Worship: The Liturgical Tradition

  1. An Uninviting Invitation: White’s Liturgical Tradition

Michael L. Birkel, Silence and Witness: The Quaker Tradition

  1. Open to the Light’s Leading: Birkel’s Quaker Tradition
  2. TBA
  3. TBA
  4. TBA

Steven Chase, Contemplation and Compassion: The Victorine Tradition

  1. TBA

John Anthony McGuckin, Standing in God’s Holy Fire: The Byzantine Tradition

  1. TBA

Esther de Waal, The Way of Simplicity: The Cistercian Tradition

  1. TBA

C. Arnold Snyder, Following in the Footsteps of Christ: The Anabaptist Tradition

  1. TBA

David Lonsdale, Eyes to See, Ears to Hear: An Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality

  1. TBA

Clouds, Daffodils, and Jam That Will Not Come Together Again: A Series Index

I have been gradually trying to work out–on? through?–the consequences of defining and understanding reality as reliable emergent patterns; while this seems too obvious a point to belabour, I’ve been getting some surprising results and thought it would be worth writing about.

This is an index or table of contents, which I will update as I post more on this topic.

  1. Reliable, Therefore Real – Making a definition of the word real that I find useful
  2. On Santa Claus and Hofstadter’s Souls – Expanding on Hofstadter’s discussion of consciousness and identity and considering whether Santa Claus or the Greek god Apollo are real
  3. Digital Phylacteries and the Simulated Afterlife – Extrapolating from the above to simulations that might be afterlives and afterlives that might be simulations
  4. Tzimtzum and Inherent Vice: A Personal Myth of Pattern – Writing a cosmological myth to see if and how what I’ve discussed above can cohere with my pre-existing religious (and library science) beliefs
  5. Moral Error Theist – Taking a detour into moral error theory to prepare for further talk about patterns, persons, and ethics
  6. Magnanimity – A look at one virtue in a world where people are patterns (upcoming)
  7. Eudaimonia – A look at a second virtue in a world where people are patterns (upcoming)
  8. TBA – Discussing Lois McMaster Bujold’s Paladin of Souls and The Hallowed Hunt (upcoming)
  9. Harmony – A look at eudaimonia on a social level, using a word I really quite loathe
  10. Courage and Criticism – A look at a final pair of virtues that intersect with the others
  11. Declaring Allegiance to Pattern – A more theoretical overview (upcoming)
  12. Reassessing Three Controversies – How I’ve changed my mind, and haven’t, on three controversies typically linked to religious worldview: homosexuality, abortion, and euthanasia (upcoming)

The title of this index comes from two different sections of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia:

The ordinary-sized stuff which is our lives, the things people write poetry about—clouds—daffodils—waterfalls—what happens in a cup of coffee when the cream goes in—these things are full of mystery, as mysterious to us as the heavens were to the Greeks.


When you stir your rice pudding, Septimus, the spoonful of jam spreads itself round making red trails like the picture of a meteor in my astronomical atlas. But if you stir backwards, the jam will not come together again. Indeed, the pudding does not notice and continues to turn pink just as before. Do you think this is odd?