CANTA Issue #9,2017

Kia Ora. I’m the Rev Spanky Moore – the Uni Chaplain around these parts. Or as I like to think of myself, the dean of the Department of Spiritual Engineering.
And as you might expect I’m pretty chuffed to see Wairua Week happening on campus next week (7-11 Aug), because I for one think spirituality should be a part of every student’s university experience at Canterbury.
So what exactly do I mean by Spirituality? Afterall, I should know, because I find myself in meetings most days waving my hands around in flamboyant ways going on about “spirituality this” and “spirituality that ”.

Now I’m definitely not trying to lump whole cultures into homogeneous categories, but if I’m perfectly honest, most Maori I talk to seem to take the idea of spirituality seriously. Most Pacific peeps I know seem too as well. And plenty of international students, from their various cultures and faiths, connect with a spiritual understanding of life. But it’s usually the Pakeha kiwi that will give me that slightly-confused-but-I-desperately-don’t-want-to-come-across-culturally-insensitive look I’ve grown so accustomed to over the years.

The conversation is then moved on as quickly as possible – onto things they are more comfortable with – like budgets or business plans or The Block. So let me offer you the shortest Spirituality for Dummies guide in less than 100 words. Spirituality is that connection with our spirit or our soul – and is fundamentally about Mystery, and Meaning. The Mystery bit is evidence whenever we experience a sense of awe, beauty, or joy in ways that escape words for most of us; a sunset, a painting, a tree, a baby, a song, a bird. The Meaning bit is when we begin to make sense of our lives by believing we are part of a bigger story.

And I think all students need to get serious about getting spiritual. We all need a sense of Mystery in our lives to flourish. And most of us need some kind of Meaning too. So maybe 2017 could be the year you explore how your own Spiritual engineering is wired?
Issue Two: The Greasy Wok 4