Margaret Silf ecumenical Christian

02 November 2006


You Are The Light brings together Eastern and Western spirituality. Brother Martin (he is a Camaldolese monk and a disciple of Bede Griffiths) explores the fact that religion can be fixated on preserving power and ensuring its own continuity. He suggests that Jesus came to liberate us from the limitations of religion.

Truth, says Brother Martin, is not an absolute, but an ever-flowing river. We can pick it up only moment by moment, and we must beware of taking a little bit of truth or revelation and thinking that it is the whole river. If we separate our small part of truth from the river, and if we try to set up our own system based on that part, truth becomes distorted, and can lead to judgementalism, even persecution. We are invited to be part of the river: the spiritual journey is about flow.

I found this very helpful. I know the scariness of being in a place where I had to let go of much that I thought I believed, and strip my faith system down to the core. I have found myself at odds with institutional religion.

Brother Martin also talks about the difference between a nest and a cage. The nest is nourishing, protective, a place of growth. A cage doesn’t allow the bird to fly. He sees Jesus as freeing himself from the womb of Judaism, being grateful for it, but moving beyond it. How has Jesus, who came to stop division, become a source of it? The vision of Christ is compassionate and open to change.

His antidote to fundamentalism, Islamic or Christian, is especially important in the wake of 9/11. Although parts of the book resonate more strongly with me than others, I found it a valuable contribution to the debate about what it means to be a Christian in the 21st century.’

John Martin Sahajananda, You are the Light , O Books, £9.99 (Church Times Bookshop £9), 1-903816-30-0

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