Sunday, July 06, 2014

Silent Retreat Day 3

The place I was in for the silent retreat is an Ignatian retreat house. I like the place because of its quietness, being close to nature in the jungle and its landscaping.

But however, that's about it, I'm afraid.

Other than the excellent retreat on Praying Ways led by the Cenacle Sisters, which I attended in May 2011, the rest of the retreats I attended in this place had me having issues with their theology. I do have good moments with God but I am always aware of teachings that is not aligned with what I was taught.

Well, I can't complain since I asked for it and I had freely signed up to attend. Anyway, it is not my place to say anything at all, being an "outsider".

But I will make a few observations about this particular retreat here:

1. I find that the retreat focused a lot on framework and tools, not very much on Scripture.

2. I was a bit disappointed not being able to take the communion. I understand and respect their decision. But after I had taken communion during a silent retreat in Chiang Mai, I felt pretty much left out of the body of Christ this time.

3. The father said that heaven is not a place but a state of being. I don't think I can agree with that. There will be a new heaven and a new earth and that sounds very "placey" to me. With that, my next read will be Randy Alcorn's Heaven so I can resolve the matter in my mind.
(P/S: it is a real place! "They're as real as the places we were born and the places we now live"
Source: Heaven, "Introduction: The Subject of Heaven", Randy C. Alcorn)

4. The father made a comment that Catholic theology has been stable and the same all the centuries unlike the Christians, making reference to Kong Hee of Singapore. That I feel is quite an unfair statement. Coming from a Wesleyan background and now growing in the Baptist tradition, our theology and doctrine have been very stable indeed over time as well. And I am in the same way as aghast as he is with the likes of Kong Hee.

5. On the irony, he actually said that non-Christians, i.e. Buddhists and Muslims, if they lived right according to their conscience may go to heaven. Wow...where did Jesus and the cross go in this?

But God is in all of this nonetheless. I say this because of what happened when I got into my car at the end of retreat to return home.

The Praying Ways retreat was very special to me (refer here and here). It was a time when God revealed himself to me through a dragonfly and the sound of thunder in line with the song by Steve Green, The Symphony of Praise.

What happened this time was this: when I got into the car I automatically connected my iPhone to the car player and as usual it plays a song randomly. Out of the 387 songs I have, this time it played The Symphony of Praise! This song has never played randomly before.

I realised God is reminding me that he is ultimately in charge and I can depend on him at all times and in all ways.



  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I have been struggling with this issue all the while esp in my previous denominational church promotes the Silent Retreats and even more so, treating the Catholic priests are the gurus for it. I was doubting it but it seems a lot of pastors promoting them and agreeing with them. Even more so, with ex-bishop who endorses them. So I thought I am the narrow minded one as I was not comfortable with its theology and its framework. So your thoughts on this has confirmed it that there is something wrong there with this approach on spiritual formation.

  2. Thanks Chee Keat for your thoughts. I would disagree though on your statement that there is something wrong with the approach. Being silent as an approach I feel is neutral. It's the content that matters.