Thursday, September 24, 2009

Home To My Own Backyard

Well, in this post, I'm going to finally get back to...and wrap up....the series on Christian Buddhism.  I think I may have written about this topic prior to this series, but this particular time debra posted an article on EU entitled Buddhism strengthens ties to church and that captured my attention again.  It began with a post about the article...and then meandered into a discussion of Merton and his view of Christian Buddhism...then to a few posts about an interview with Thomas Keating.  These ponderments and musings can be found here. 

The following excerpt from the article expresses one of the main themes I wanted to get across...

Search can lead back home

People are hungry for a deeper spiritual experience — meditation, mindfulness, personal transformation, deep insight, union with God or the universe.

Habito, who calls himself a Zen Catholic, is one of the experts who say the search is a little like Dorothy and her ruby slippers. The quest for meaning ultimately leads some, like Dorothy, to their own backyards.

And that is where it leads me every time. There is certainly a thrill when I hear his voice in other sacred writings/practices/beliefs because it gives me a little bigger glimpse of his vastness, his hugeness, his everywhereness.  There is no where that he is not!!  But, the profound thing for me is that when I hear his voice...when I find other faith traditions, verses from the B-I-B-L-E immediately come to mind!!  For me the Bible contains the deepest revelation of God. 

Following are two quotes by John Hicks..a guy who started out as a Christian Universalist and then went on to embrace a much more inclusive pluralistic view of religion

But there is something else important to be said before I finish. There is a valid sense in which, for those of us who are Christians, Christianity is the only true religion, the only one for us. For we have been formed by it. It has created us in its own image, so that it fits us and we fit it as no other religion can. And so for most of us who are Christians it is the right religion, and we should stick with it and live it out to the full. But we should also be aware that exactly the same is true for people formed by the other world religions. They also should stick with the religion that has formed them and live it out, though in each case gradually filtering out its ingrained claim to unique superiority.


So the bottom line, I am suggesting, is this: we should live wholeheartedly within our own faith, so long as we find it to be sustaining and a sphere of spiritual growth, but we should freely recognize the equal validity of the other great world faiths for their adherents, and we can also be enriched by some of their insights and spiritual practices. We should not see the other religions as rivals or enemies, or look down upon them as inferior, but simply as different human responses to the divine reality, formed in the past within different strands of human history and culture. And we should seek a friendship with people of other faiths which will do something to defuse the very dangerous religious absolutism that is being exploited in almost all the conflicts going on in the world today. To support religious absolutism is to be part of the problem which afflicts humanity. But we can be part of the solution by setting an example of transcending that absolutism.

Perhaps more on this tomorrow.....

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