Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hilfield Friary - baskets and desert fathers

I've just enjoyed a wonderfully peaceful and inspiring weekend away and would recommend any worn out eco-worrier/warrior to check out Hilfield Friary - a community of Anglican Franciscans in Dorset. It is lovely to stay somewhere where care for Creation is taken for granted and is quietly obvious in many ways. I was attending a weekend to learn about the Desert Fathers and how to weave baskets. I was especially struck by the story of an elder who was asked by a certain soldier whether God would forgive sinners. 'If your cloak was torn, would you mend it?' came the reply, 'But of course', 'Well then, how much more will God care for that which is His image?' - in part it struck me because we don't tend to mend things any more.
On our final morning the leader talked of the legacy of the Desert Fathers and their relevance today, picking up on the challenge of their call to utter simplicity and pointing out politicians' fears that simpler living will attack the model of economic growth that they cannot see beyond. He mentioned a fascinating sounding book by Bruce Wilshire called Wild Hunger which traces our addictions (be it to drugs or shopping) to a void caused by our lack of connection with nature and other humans.

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