Celtic Christianity Homily “The Cost and Joy of Discipleship” by Rev. Dr. George Cairns

Celtic Christianity Today Homily “The Cost and Joy of Discipleship” by Rev. Dr. George Cairns


(Valparaiso, Indiana) – Rev. Dr. George Cairns of Chesterton, Indiana delivers a Sunday homily entitled The Cost and Joy of Discipleship on May 3, 2009 at the Union Community Church in Valparaiso, Indiana.

The homilies on Celtic Christianity take a look at several topics including the European roots of the Celts (primarily Scotland and Ireland) and how Earth-based cultures can impact the future of civilization including actively protecting the environment, respecting fellow humans, different cultures and nature.


Union Community Church

Cairns is working closely with Rev. Gregory Jones on several social fronts.

Rev. Jones is the pastor of the Union Community Church and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theology at Valparaiso University.


Turtle Island Project logo

Founded in 2007, the non-profit Turtle Island Project is known for its ongoing work with Native American issues – and the other wing involves other Earth-based religions like the Celts. Dr. Cairns is the co-founder of the nonprofit Turtle Island Project.


Rev. Dr. George Cairns

Rev. Cairns continues to work closely with the foremost Celtic group in the world, the Iona Community in Scotland that is a dispersed Christian ecumenical community working for peace and social justice, rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship.

Cairns is a research professor of Practical Theology and Spirituality at Chicago Theological Seminary, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and lives in Chesterton, Indiana.


Cairns recently completed a six-part “contemplative reading and discussion” of Philip Newell’s book “Christ of the Celts” at the Union Community Church.

Cairns and his wife, Nancy, recently hosted a conference on Celtic Spirituality, Ecology, and Participative Consciousness.

Dr. Cairns says:

Celtic Christianity is a strand of the Christian tradition which developed during the middle of the first millennium. Its full flowering in Ireland and Scotland continued for several hundred years before it was incorporated into the dominant church as many of its traditions were lost or suppressed.

There are two major reasons for this recovery and reconstruction of Celtic Christian practical theology for the church today: Church Renewal & Engaging and transforming the genocide and ecocide taking place today.

We are concerned that our current individual and systemic western consciousness is disembodied and ill. We believe that this process started several thousand years ago in the late Paleolithic. We are not trying to turn back the clock to the Stone Age. But we do know that a change in consciousness must begin if our planet and we are to survive.

What we have lost is participative consciousness, which understands that our lives are profoundly related to the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of all of creation. Another way of putting this is that we are completely relational beings. Reconnection with all of creation as sacred and responsive and alive is our great task in the early 21st century.

We have living guides to help us such as Celtic Spirituality, Native American Spirituality and post-modern science. I believe we need to integrate the profound gifts of these resources and open ourselves to deepen our relationships with all of creation.

email Rev. Dr. George Cairns, Founder of Celtic Christianity Today

Related websites and information:

Celtic Christianity Today website

Spirit Cafe Blog with Rev. George Cairns (United Church of Christ website)

Iona Community, Scotland

Iona Community New World Foundation: Iona Community associates, friends in U.S.

Union Community Church, Valparaiso, IN

Web page of Rev. Gregory Jones, Theology Department at Valparaiso University

Turtle Island TV on bliptv

Turtle Island TV on youtube

email Turtle Island Project to get messages to Dr. Cairns

Artwork of Saint Columba from Wikipedia shows: Saint Columba, Apostle to the Picts

Source: Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall, Scotland’s Story

1906 (published) Columba banging on the gate of Bridei, son of Maelchon, King of Fortriu.

Created in 1906 illustrator John R. Skelton

Copyright expired but credit given in the spirit of Celtic Christianity.

Iona Island (Scotland) topographical map

Courtesy Wikipedia


Iona Abbey photo from Wikipedia

The copyright on this image is owned by John Naisbitt and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.


Old Iona Map from Wikipedia:


This is an image that has come from a book or document for which the American copyright has expired and this image is in the public domain in the United States and possibly other countries.

Iona, showing the sites of the monasteries and abbey

Source: Celtic Scotland, p.100


Author: William Forbes Skene in 1887

August 1983 wide panorama shot of Iona Island from Wikipedia:


Iona Island, Scotland, view from the Fionnphort-Iona ferry:

This image has been released into the public domain by its author, Dr. Torsten Henning, who grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.


Coracle boats on Wikipedia: Photo shows small coracle from Wales:


This image has been (or is hereby) released into the public domain by its author, LinguisticDemographer at the Wikipedia Project. This applies worldwide.


Author Ian Bradley biography of Saint Columba:






Photo of Stained Glass Window of Saint Columba in St Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh Castle from Rampant Scotland Website:


Saint Columba & Celtic Spirituality websites:



Contemplative Prayer or Centering Prayer:





Beehive Huts:


Centering prayer/contemplative prayer & Thomas Keating:

Photos of Father Thomas Keating in Texas by marimelch on flickr




Rev. Dr. George Cairns at Sept. 2007 Conference on Centering Prayer in Munising, MI:



On September 20, 2007, Rev. Cairns gave a presentation on centering prayer also known as contemplative prayer in Munising, Michigan at the first non-profit Turtle Island Project regional conference.

The Scotland-based Iona community is a good example of a group of people “who are unified by a covenant, worship together and who engage in very effective political action to change structural evil.”

Rev. Cairns said “centering prayer” and “participative consciousness” that are techniques of deep meditation he learned from Father Thomas Keating, a Trappist monk and teacher. (Trappist refers to a branch of the Cistercian order of monks known for an austere rule including a vow of silence.)

“Silent meditation is a powerful tool to open ourselves to one another and to all creation which is what this participative consciousness is all about,” said Cairns, TIP co-founder and board president.

Cairns said the intense form of meditation helps eliminate the “internal dialogue” or “chatter that’s going on all the time” in people’s minds.

“I found out how much of my life was consumed by internal dialogue,” said Cairns, research professor of theology at the Chicago Theological Seminary.

Centering prayer allows “us to open our hearts to a deeper relationship with God and an increased openness to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives,” said Rev. Cairns, admitting it’s an easier technique to teach than for people to learn and practice.

“The technique to doing it – is simply to rest with God. It’s not easy to do, it’s easy to teach, but very difficult to do,” Cairns said.

In fighting the world’s evil, Cairns said “we can’t get their with just our hearts – we need our heads and something more.”

About yoopernewsman

I am a news reporter, writer and investigative journalist and began my career about 40 years ago as a young teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during the middle of high school. I'm a news reporter, writer & investigative journalist specializing in street news, plus Indigenous, civil rights & environment reporting. Currently volunteer media advisor for numerous American Indian & environment related nonprofits that include the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, AZ & its executive director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI) in Marquette, MI & its many projects founded by Rev. Jon Magnuson, Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI, Celtic Christianity Today (CCT) founded by Rev. Dr. George Cairns, the Turtle Island Project founded by pastors Hubbard & Cairns. In its third summer, the CTI Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project & its volunteers built a16-foot geodesic dome solar-powered greenhouse that was built in this summer at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in an effort to restore native species plants to northern Michigan. It's located at the tribe's Natural Resources Department north of L'Anse along Lake Superior. During the summer of 2010, Zaagkii Project teens built & painted 25 beautiful reliquaries that are boxes made from pine & cedar that are used to store seeds for planting & included samples of Native American medicine including sweetgrass, cedar, sage & tobacco. From April-June 2009, I promoted the EarthKeeper Tree Project that planted 12,000 trees across northern Michigan. Co-edited "Unafraid," the second book by Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI that was printed in May 2009 based on her father's handwritten sermons she found in shoebox. I edited numerous videos for nonprofit CCT. Began career 35 years ago as teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during middle of high school. I was co-coordinator of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by local media who didn't report anything positive about the music icon. Mr. Terence Dicks was the other co-coordinator & most recently served as chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission and serves on the Georgia Clients Council. Mr. Brown taught us to "fight the good fight" by battling all forms of racism & evil while not uttering a bad word about those who try to block justice, respect, fairness & kindness to all. As a child, I lived in the Harbert, Michigan home built by late poet Carl Sandburg, where the legendary author penned some of his greatest works including his Chicago works & Lincoln papers. The four-story home had a sundeck on the top & a cool walk-in safe in the basement. The neighborhood (Birchwood) has numerous cottages used for other purposes by Sandburg like the milk house where they milked goats. My parents remodeled fourth floor of the home that stands atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes/bluffs. They found items that belonged to Mr. Sandburg concealed in the walls including prescription bottles with his name, reading glasses, & a small, thin metal stamp with his name. I've worked for dozens of newspapers & radio & TV stations in GA & MI. I'm volunteer media advisor for several interfaith environmental projects involving Native Americans across Upper Peninsula of MI including the Turtle Island Project, The Zaagkii Project, the Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative, EarthKeeper Initiative & the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project. The Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project restores bee & butterfly habitat to help pollination of plants following death of billions of bees. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth & Marquette teens built butterfly houses, planted/distributed 26,000 native plants to help pollinators. The Earth Healing Initiative assisted EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge. EHI helped organize interfaith participation across eight states for the 100 plus recycling projects (April 2008) involving recycling millions of pounds of electronic waste & proper disposal of millions of pills/pharmaceuticals. EPA goals were exceeded by 500%. Under an EPA grant, EHI provided free media services for the cities/groups/tribes including videos & press releases. The EarthKeeper environment projects include an annual Earth Day Clean Sweep (2005-2007) at 24 free drop-off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan that collected over 370 tons of household hazardous waste. The 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep collected over one ton of drugs plus $500,000 in narcotics in only three hours. Some 2,000 residents participated & many brought in pharmaceuticals for their family, friends & neighbors. In 2006, 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones & other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons & vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project teaches teens to respect nature & themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to remote lakes & streams in northern Michigan to plant/care for wild rice. The teens test water quality to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. The Turtle Island Project was co-founded in July 2007 by Rev. Lynn Hubbard of Rock Point, AR (Ex. Dir. of the Navajo Lutheran Mission) & Rev. Dr. George Cairns of Chesterton, IN, United Church of Christ minister & research professor for the Chicago Theological Seminary. TIP promotes respect for culture & heritage of indigenous peoples like American Indians. TIP is a platform for American Indians to be heard unedited by whites. Rev. Hubbard says whites don't have the knowledge or right to speak on behalf of Native Americans. I specialize in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops & courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the books "Illusions" & "Jonathon Livingston Seagull." Love to fish, hunt, camp & skydive. Belong to Delta Chi national fraternity. I was active in Junior Achievement, band played cornet. With my dear friend, the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, we were the co-coordinators of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by the local media who found no reasons to print or report anything positive about the music icon. I am honored to help the human rights activist Terence Dicks - with some of his projects including the nonprofit Georgia Center for Children and Education - and the economic initiative he founded titled "Claiming A Street Named King." I am the volunteer media advisor for several environmental projects across Michigan's Upper Peninsula including EarthKeeper II - an Initiative of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI. EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Goals: Restore Native Plants and Protect the Great Lakes from Toxins like Airborne Mercury in cooperation with the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, 10 faith traditions and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Previously known as the Earth Keeper Initiative - that project included many environmental projects including an annual Earth Day Clean sweep at two dozen free drop off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan. The target of the 2007 Earth Keeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep are all kinds of medicines. In 2006, some 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones and other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project taught at-risk teens (just sentenced in juvenile court) to respect nature and themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to very remote lakes and streams in northern Michigan to plant and care for wild rice. The teens conducted water quality and other tests to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. I have always specialized in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops and courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the book "Illusions."
This entry was posted in abc news special, abc news special earth 2100, African American, air, air pollution, Al Gore, American Indian, American Indians, american museum of natural history, Anglican Church, Apostle, Aran, Arizona, artist, black, California, Caucasian, Celtic, Celtic Christianity, Celtic Christianity Today, centering prayer, Chesterton, Chicago Theological Seminary, Christ of the Celts, Christian, christian theology, church, civil rights, clergy, Climate Change, contemplative, Contemplative Prayer, corruption, cosmic christ, culture, debate, dialogue, Dingle, Dingle Peninsula, Discipleship, discussion, domination, Dublin, dunes, dying culture, dying languages, Earth, earth 2100, earth cultures, Eastern Orthodox Church, eco-cide, ecocide, elaine siemsen, end of times, environment, Europe, extinction, Father Thomas Keating, fighting the good fight, forest, forgive, forgiveness, genocide, George Cairns, global warming, grass, Great Lakes, greed, heritage, homilies, homily, Indiana, Indigenous Peoples, interfaith, iona, Iona Community, iona island, Ireland, Kildare, kyros, kyros moment, Lake Michigan, land, language, Lutheran Church, magazine, Marion Melchiorre, mass extinction, Native American, native american genocide, Native American Theology, Native Americans, native species, nature, Navajo Lutheran Mission, participative consciousness, Philip Newell, Picts, plants, plurality, pollution, reading, religion, repent, repent or the time is near, repentant, respect, Rev. Dr. George Cairns, Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, Rev. Gregory Jones, Rock Point, Roman Catholic Church, Saint Columba, Scotland, sermon, Silent Prayer, sixth great extinction, soil, species extinction, spirit cafe blog, spiritual, spirituality, temple, the lutheran, the lutheran magazine, the sixth great extinction, theology, theology department at valparaiso university, Thomas Keating, trees, tribal, tribe, Turtle Island, Turtle Island Project, Uncategorized, Union Community Church, United Church of Christ, united church of christ spirit cafe blog, United Nations, Valparaiso, Valparaiso University, water, white, Wikipedia, wikipedia project, wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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