28 September 2006


For anyone who finds labyrinths helpful, there is now an interactive labyrinth on: www.lostinwonder.org.uk

And now for a "Seinfeld moment". Labyrinths. What's the deal with that? I totally do not "get" labyrinths. I don't understand why people find them helpful and I particularly hate it when one gets told that there is "a special surprise for you from God" in the middle.

I don't mean to denigrate labyrinths. I know that a lot of people find them helpful and I think that it's my duty and my job to present people with all sorts of alternatives to praying so that each person can pray in a way that is helpful to them.

It's just that I totally don't "get" labyrinths. About the only bit that I find even remotely helpful - and we're talking reasonably remote here - is actually physically walking them. There is something moderately helpful in walking in a slow and controlled manner. Therefore an on-line version seems totally pointless to me.

I think I'm a grumpy old woman.


Sally said...

no you aren't, but surprise surprise I really like labyrinths- but they must be done well, every journey should have a point- those strung together with a series of unrelated prayer points are not terribly helpful...
btw the original labyrinths did not have prayer points- the walking was the point

PamBG said...

In real-life, I've only experienced the "walking only" labyrinths.

What I hate about the "God has a surprise for you" in the middle comments is that I don't think that God gives us "spiritual surprises" to order in our prayer lives.

99.9999 times out of 100, the benefit for me of praying is just being in God's presence, but no special revelation. There is something very consumer-like about that comment. I think I'd hate it even more if someone had actually put some sort of twee prayer or verse in the centre.

The challenge for me as a minister, is to be able to offer to others methods of praying and worshipping that I don't particularly like - in the knowledge that it will be very helpful to someone with a different temperment. After all, we should all "pray as we can and not as we can't"

Sally said...

"What I hate about the "God has a surprise for you" in the middle comments is that I don't think that God gives us "spiritual surprises" to order in our prayer lives."

I'd have to agree with you here Pam- I wonder how often we try to manipulate God with our clever installations!

Anonymous said...

No problem that you 'don't get it' Pam. We're trying to reach people beyond the church who find enrichment at their computer screens. LiW offers a spiritual journey but not in a manipulative way that makes promises it can't keep!

Not everyone who wants to can get to a labyrinth, but that's not the main point - it is more a way of using an ancient spiritual tool in a contemporary way for the 'my space' generation (whoever they are!!)

Every blessing. Lost in Wonder's designer.

PamBG said...

I did wonder whether I should have left that comment up after I wrote it!

I totally agree with you that it doesn't matter that I "don't get it". As you point out, labyrinths are helpful to many people.

Because everyone is different and prays differently, it's probably particularly important for those of us who are ministers to be aware of approaches to prayer that don't particularly work for us personally. Otherwise, we will only be able to minister to "people like us" - which isn't really the point of being a minister!

So well done! (I just wish I could understand what the attraction was!)

Anonymous said...

It's interesting... I love walking the labyrinth (though I've never heard the 'God has a surprise for you in the middle' - that would really tick me off). My experiences have been one of being progressivly freed into contemplation.

*wry smile* My partner, on the other hand, hates the practice. She finds it confining and enclosing and dangerously inhibiting.

Blessings and peace - Richard B.