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6 years ago  ::  Aug 13, 2008 - 2:31PM #1
seekerdrd
Posts: 98
Here's a question for all of you, slightly off topic, but nonetheless one of interest to me. As background, I'm highly contemplative in my faith practice, and as such, Thomas Merton is one of many influences on me, as are the desert fathers and mothers, et al. In his later years, Merton opened up talks with the Dalai Lama, and saw much within Buddhism that could be redeemed, adapted or learned from for Christians.

So my question is, to what extent, if any, can we incorporate or blend or adapt, etc. practices of other religions without losing the integrity of our message and focus on Christ?

Pax Christi,

David
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 14, 2008 - 1:02PM #2
mfjfarrell
Posts: 236
Hey David,

Thomas Merton!  Wow!  I haven't hear that name since undergrad theology at SJU.  From what I remember of him, he was looking for 'spirituality'.  He no longer appreciated the 'assembly line' process to weekly mass and was looking for more substance to his own beliefs.  I believe his talks were successful with the Dali Lama but later disavowed them.  Its all a little fuzzy from such a primitive time in my life!

As for your question, what can we learn?  I'd stick with whatever is true and good and conforms to what we already know about God revealed in Christ.  I can't accept reincarnation or karma or even dharma from their perspective.  We are just too unique to God... at least I know... I am! (hehehe)

Celtic Spirituality is something that I prefer to seek out.  It was such a fascinating, holistic approach to being that I'll never tire of meditating on God as seen through Celtic eyes.

Well, that's just me.. let's see what others have to offer!

Slan,
Marty
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 14, 2008 - 1:02PM #3
mfjfarrell
Posts: 236
Hey David,

Thomas Merton!  Wow!  I haven't hear that name since undergrad theology at SJU.  From what I remember of him, he was looking for 'spirituality'.  He no longer appreciated the 'assembly line' process to weekly mass and was looking for more substance to his own beliefs.  I believe his talks were successful with the Dali Lama but later disavowed them.  Its all a little fuzzy from such a primitive time in my life!

As for your question, what can we learn?  I'd stick with whatever is true and good and conforms to what we already know about God revealed in Christ.  I can't accept reincarnation or karma or even dharma from their perspective.  We are just too unique to God... at least I know... I am! (hehehe)

Celtic Spirituality is something that I prefer to seek out.  It was such a fascinating, holistic approach to being that I'll never tire of meditating on God as seen through Celtic eyes.

Well, that's just me.. let's see what others have to offer!

Slan,
Marty
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 14, 2008 - 1:46PM #4
seekerdrd
Posts: 98
Hey, Marty, thanks for the input. I probably should clarify a little. I'm not referring to doctrine so much as practice. For example, I find that doing Zen meditation to empty the mind, followed by a prayer and scripture reading helps me focus on what I'm reading and absworb it better. I'm wondering if we couldn't look at how others view the divine, and not necessarily agree with it, but maybe learn from it? For example, the Orthodox and Hasidic Jews can teach us a lot about the holiness of God. Perhaps Taoism's living in the "way" could show us an example of how to listen to God's "still, small voice," and follow it's promptings? I don't know, just speculating.

Pax Christi,

David
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 14, 2008 - 1:56PM #5
mfjfarrell
Posts: 236
Hey David,

Meditation may not be so common in Protestant churches but its still Scriptural!  Joshua 1:8 "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success"

As I go through my prayer times each day, Newell has a place for 'Scripture and Meditation'.  I do it!  And it does help focus the day!!

Slan,
Marty
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 25, 2008 - 11:24PM #6
Liriodendron
Posts: 36
I don't see the emptying your mind kind of meditation as being the same as meditating on the Word of God.  But I could see it's usefulness when you mind is so full of the days' happenings that you can't focus on God.



I think the answer to the question about adapting stuff from other religions depends goes back to the discussion about how fallen is the nature of man.   

If you take the Roman/Calvinist view that Marty just wrote about in the East/West view of sin thread - that " 'there is no good thing' .... nothing of Christ's Light in anyone!" - then the answer is no. 

But if you think that they were doing the best they could without direct revelation from God, and if you take into account the natural tendency of humans to distort things out of selfishnes, then I'd say there is probably good stuff and good observations about life.  (I'm personally thinking about Native American views).

I do think you have to be careful and know both the scripture and Christ well first.
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