Spirituality for the Perplexed

sheldrake book
Philip Sheldrake distinguishes four types of spirituality : ascetical, mystical, practical and prophetic.

In Psalm 95 at Morning Prayer, modern liturgies sometimes stop at the words “O, that today you would listen to his

voice!”  In the ascetic tradition, this is a matter of discipline, focussing on God through religious practice.  In the mystical tradition, listening becomes hearing, and (whether or not through the practice), a new relation with God is possible.  The practical tradition affirms that this takes place here, now, and everywhere, in daily life, not (or not only) in silent or desert places.  And in the prophetic tradition, the listening/hearing becomes a reception and proclamation of the word.

Isaiah was in the temple, and saw a visionand felt a live coal touch his lips, while living “in the midst of a people of unclean lips”, and responded “Here am I; send me.”

Thus all four types are possible emphases in these familiar texts.  (My commentary, not Sheldrake’s.)