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Common Era: Spirituality in an Age of Change

Common Era: Spirituality in an Age of Change

By Passionists
What does our current era of change mean for the future of spiritual communities? How are our spiritual 'homes' changing? Why are old traditions finding traction with post-church audiences?

Theologian, musician and author David Benjamin Blower sits down with Passionist priest Nicholas Postlethwaite for an exploration of spirituality between different traditions: what might be coming to an end, and what might be coming into life. A seven-part series on power, anxiety, being changed by those on the margins, and much more besides.
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E7: Funeral Rites
What exactly is coming to an end at this time? And how do we feel about those things ending? Perhaps we need to learn to hold healthy funerals, so that change can be acknowledged and mourned, rather than creating bitterness and division. In this final episode of our season, author and musican David Benjamin Blower and Passionist priest Nicholas Postlethwaite share what they think might be dying in this time, and how we might learn to be good undertakers of that process, alongside being midwives of the new things coming to life.
August 16, 2021
E6: Pressures of Past and Future
What does it feel like to be on the threshold of change - at significant moments in time? What's the feeling of being caught between the pressures of the past and the demands of the future? Passionist priest Nicholas Postlethwaite and post-evangelical poet David Benjamin Blower discuss the challenges of creating space and authentic conversation in those moments, and they share their own experiences of that place, where change is occurring and relationships are put under pressure. In this episode David also mentions Martin Newell, another member of the Passionists, who has on multiple occasions faced arrest and prison time for non-violent protest against the arms trade, or environmental causes. You can read more about that here.
August 9, 2021
E5: Changed by the Margins
Pope Francis would be one of the influential Catholic voices in recent years reiterating the need to step outside our known world, and reframe it through the eyes of those on the margins of society. It's an idea that lies at the heart of the Passionist movement. Nicholas Postlethwaite from the Passionists, and post-evangelical poet David Benjamin Blower talk about the places they've lived - and while admittedly speaking from their own experience, they discuss their attempts to adopt a new narrative, where they themselves are not at the centre. They talk about how that's changed them, as well as discussing the politics involved in self-awareness, privilege and ideology.
August 2, 2021
E4: Monks, Orders and Rules
The last few years have seen a surge of interest in monasticism, rules, liturgies, and all kind of orthodox practices, in many unexpected circles. At the same time, the daily life of Catholic Orders are little known to outsiders. What are monastic Orders, and what's behind the renewed appeal? Post-evangelical poet David Benjamin Blower and Passionist priest Nicholas Postlethwaite talk about the history behind orders, the rise of 'new monasticism', and the tensions between hierarchy and autonomy that lie behind the whole concept.
July 26, 2021
E3: The Silk Road of Spiritualities
We're in an era where different faith groups are drawing on one another's wisdom and traditions. In some places there seems to be less suspicion and more openness between these groups than ever before. What's caused this, and where is it headed? Post-evangelical poet David Benjamin Blower and Passionist Catholic priest Nicholas Postlethwaite talk about this flow of influences, how it's affected them, and conversely, the search for belonging or 'home' in a fixed spiritual tradition.
July 19, 2021
E2: Old Decline and New Growth
Is there a bigger story to be found behind the sense of decline felt by some faith traditions? What positive visions of the future could we find in place of those anxieties? Post-evangelical poet David Benjamin Blower and Passionist Catholic priest Nicholas Postlethwaite talk about the narratives of decline in the traditions they grew up with, the idea of giving away your 'treasures' without asking for membership, and how to take up the roles of undertaker and midwife: not only allowing change to happen, but taking part in ushering it in to the world.
July 12, 2021
E1: Everything is Changing
What does this current time of change mean for spiritual communities? How are the traditions that we call 'home' changing, along with our relationships to those traditions? Author and musician David Benjamin Blower, and Catholic priest Nicholas Postlethwaite - who belongs to the monastic order known as the Passionists - talk about their current spiritual worlds, the relationship between faith traditions and power, and what might happen when communities put that power aside.
July 1, 2021