|Mulling over the questions|
Those who are Companions in Community are united in their desire to embrace an ongoing exploration into a new way for living Christianly that offers hope in the changed and changing cultures of today’s world. Each has to learn to translate and apply our Way for Living, which is centred in Availability and Vulnerability before God and others to their own situations and circumstances, as each has to face differing roles, responsibilities and relationships. This commitment to adaptability and flexibility makes it very difficult to translate our life into words adequately. The best we can do is to talk about living the questions at the heart of our life as a response rather than an answer. Answers give finality whereas we want to convey life still being lived, discoveries yet to be made, exploration and adventure being real. This is why the Northumbria Community is always in draft form and because it is dynamic, organic and ongoing, it is never a finished product.However, there are some unchanging principles and core values in that the essence of the Northumbria Community ethos is found in each Companion. Each can say, ‘this is what I am, who I am’, like the words in a stick of seaside rock – embedded throughout, part of the thing itself so that however much it is broken up, the letters remain. Ideally, for Companions, the life and message has become who they are; it is in the heart, not in knowledge alone.
From our earliest days as a Community we have understood that two concepts capture this essence, both seen in the original meaning of the old Greek word ethos meaning both the atmosphere (ether) and the habitual practices (ethics) of any group within that atmosphere. We recognise the ‘ether’ in which we live, move and have our being today is that of a rapidly changing culture, characterised by a consumer-driven, instant communication globalism. Exploring how to live in this new world, our ‘ethics’, (seen in our core values and spiritual disciplines) enabled us to discover our Way for Living. This is embodied in living constantly with three questions: Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
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