This post concludes our series with Chris Hall, author of Worshiping With the Church Fathers
, a book that examines how the earliest fathers — theologians and pastors and leaders — understood spirituality. Eucharist and baptism, prayer, and withdrawal are Hall’s major themes.
His last chp examines what the fathers learned when the withdrew into the desert, and it leads me to a set of questions:
Have you ever had a period of withdrawal? What did you learn? What did you expect and what did you gain? Any wisdom?
The desert was a school room, a cell, a church, a garden and a cemetery.
In essence, it was a place where many sought to find the center of life, to re-center themselves on God, and to find new perspective on the spinning of the world around us. In fact, Hall says the goal was to learn to love God and to love others in returning to ordinary life. This involved embracing the truth about themselves.
So the desert involved these things:
1. A movement from self-deception to self-awareness.
2. It was a training ground for good works.
3. It was exercise in spiritual warfare.
Hall closes with a sketch of desert fathers’ sayings:
On quiet, on not judging, on lust, on patience and fortitude, and on discretion.
This is a good book; it’s been a good ride through Hall’s sketch of the spirituality of the fathers.