|Buddhism In Progressive Christianity
How An Open Path Can
Free Us From Suffering
I think I have always been a seeker. Even as a young child,
in my Sunday school classes, I asked a lot of questions. I took church
attendance very seriously, seldom missing a Sunday and participated in all of
the special events. I sang in the children's choir and eventually in the adult
choir every Sunday. I assumed leadership positions when asked and even attended
regional and national events as a youth representative for our Presbytery. But more than once, I was told I asked too many
questions, suggesting I did not have enough "faith." One of my favorite Sunday school teachers
even set up a meeting with our rather strict minister once "so he could deal
with all of my questions." He was certainly nice enough, but in a rather patronizing
way he suggested that my questions would someday seem rather childish when my
faith matured. Little did either of us know at that time, that they would never
I don't think my experience was unique for those of us
who were growing up in small communities in the 1950's. Some people just shut
down and quit thinking about those ultimate questions. Others just quit going
to church. And a few people like me kept looking for answers and the answers we
did find seem to lead to other questions. That is probably why I ended up
taking so many philosophy classes in college. That is why I drove all night to
hear a talk by the "radical" Bishop Pike in the 1960's. And that is why I have sought out every
opportunity to expand my understanding of the meaning of life and how to live
it ever since... Read On
Feature Sermon- Jesus and Buddha-Kindred Spirits!
By Ian Lawton
What I want to do this morning is bring Christianity and Buddhism together
and show that the essence of the two are one and the same. There are all sorts
of parallel teachings, but I would like to set those aside and go straight to
the heart of the matter. The one thing that they are both doing is bringing
together laughter and sorrow, to the point where the boundaries between them are
In the Proverbs it says, "Even in laughter the heart is sad and the end of
joy is grief." I believe we could turn it around, and it would make just as
much sense- "Even in sadness the heart is glad and the end of grief is joy."
Christianity, from the wisdom tradition, through the axial age, and in the
teaching and life of Jesus, understood this bringing together of laughing and
suffering. Read On
Jesus Was A Liberal
By Rev. Scotty McLennan
Review by Jim Burklo
JESUS WAS A LIBERAL is the best introduction to theologically and
socially progressive Christianity that I've read in the past several
years. McLennan offers a concise definition of "liberal" Christianity,
and applies it concretely to hot-button social issues and common
confusions about biblical interpretation. He describes what is right
about the long, venerable liberal religious tradition more than he
argues against what is wrong with atheism or biblical literalism.
The Lotus and The Cross
By: Jon Zuck
At first glance, Buddhism seems vastly different from Christianity.
Christianity is a religion about God, while the Absolute in Buddhism is never
personalized, and seldom described, except as being beyond description. Most
Christian denominations see the Bible as being of paramount importance
(particularly in conservative Protestantism), while the vastly larger
collection of Buddhist scriptures are seldom considered as an infallible
authority except for a handful of smaller sects.
But delving deeper, the differences become much smaller. For instance, many
of the early Church Fathers taught that in his true essence, God is
unknowable and unfathomable, beyond all words and all
descriptions. This inability to speak of the divine nature is known as apophatic
(unspeakable) mysticism, which recognizes God is beyond all words and concepts,
and anything we use to say what God is falls short. God's essence (ousia),
is within all things, but
ever beyond all. Similarly, the Buddhist scriptures refer to the ultimate
reality as "the Uncreated," or "the Unmanifest," an
absolute Reality which is everywhere present, but beyond this perceived world,
resulting from no cause, and limited by no conditions.
|Feature Book- Mind in the Balance
By B. Alan Wallace
By establishing a dialogue in which the meditative practices of
Buddhism and Christianity speak to the theories of modern philosophy
and science, B. Alan Wallace reveals the theoretical similarities
underlying these disparate disciplines and their unified approach to
making sense of the objective world.
Wallace begins by
exploring the relationship between Christian and Buddhist meditative
practices. He outlines a sequence of meditations the reader can
undertake, showing that, though Buddhism and Christianity differ in
their belief systems, their methods of cognitive inquiry provide
similar insight into the nature and origins of consciousness.
this convergence Wallace then connects the approaches of contemporary
cognitive science, quantum mechanics, and the philosophy of the mind.
He links Buddhist and Christian views to the provocative philosophical
theories of Hilary Putnam, Charles Taylor, and Bas van Fraassen, and he
seamlessly incorporates the work of such physicists as Anton Zeilinger,
John Wheeler, and Stephen Hawking. Combining a concrete analysis of
conceptions of consciousness with a guide to cultivating mindfulness
and profound contemplative practice, Wallace takes the scientific and
intellectual mapping of the mind in exciting new directions.
"This work is replete with lucid argument and wonderful, (nearly
breathtaking) detailed explanation as to the congruencies and parallels
between Eastern & Western contemplative traditions and modern, that
is to say: quantum physics. "Mind in the Balance" is now in my top
three favorites of all time, easily a must read 5 plus star effort." ~Matthew J. Schimpf
Click here for more info and to purchase Mind in the Balance
Children Praying a New Story
By Michael Moorwood
Review by Fred Plumer
We have a new book in our store that I think many of you
have been waiting for. It is called "Children Praying a New Story" by
Michael Morwood. Morwood has written a wonderful book that is designed for
parents, grandparents and teachers who want to tell their children the
Christian story from positive, progressive perspective that takes into
consideration a new world view. He starts his book by explaining what it is he
is trying to accomplish and then goes into specific theological and
Christological subjects that every parent or adult finds themselves trying deal
with when we are questioned by our six year old child, grand child or student.
Oh how I wished I would have had this book 40 years ago when my oldest daughter
asked me about "God." You may be assured that I will have some better answers
for my grandchildren.
After he comfortably weaves his way through the meaning of
God, where we came from, who and what was Jesus, and why and how to pray
(Morwood believes that teaching children to pray is very important) he then
takes on the Holy days one by one. After that he covers the sacraments as
separate chapters with clear and easy reading.
Although this book was intended for adults teaching children and I think
it will fill a huge gap doing that, I suspect it will be used but a lot of
adults who are struggling to find a better way to describe their beliefs and
their understanding of their own Christian faith. We used the book in a recent
small group gathering of adults recently and several people asked where they
could buy a copy of the book.
Confessions of a Cowboy Christian and Practicing
A Poem by Ron Starbuck
Beyond miles and miles of Sonoran and Chihuahuan desert
Criss-crossing the Southwest and Northern
Where local folks know how to stand "tall in the saddle" as
Across a landscape that seems to go nigh on to forever
Even beyond the Boundlessness of you, O' God,
Here imaginations may touch the beauty of all creation
And horizons meet the very edge of eternity.
Here you may see from Terlingua to
Tuscon, Marfa to Manhattan,
Edna to El Paso
Across vistas of high desert plains,
Mountains, valleys, arroyos,
Streams and rivers merging together.
Where fingers of saguaro cactus
Point upwards in prayer,
While honey and velvet mesquite,
Althorn, ocotillo, lechugilla,
Agave and creosote bush
Bow with grace when touch by the breath of God
Traveling on windblown currents.
O Lord, let such a landscape echo back through each of us,
Expanding our sight, to become a vision
That comes to see heaven reflected
Through your divine made eyes.
May such a vision arise in us each
As it did for Christ and the Buddha
To echo, again and again
As we view heaven
Through divine made eyes.
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|Thank you for taking this journey with us as
we continue to encourage the growth and understanding of a Christianity that is
open, inclusive, just, loving and compassionate. As you delve deeper into
the heart of this beautiful and authentic spiritual path, we hope you share it
with those around you, educate those who desire to learn, and most importantly
let it fill you with light and loving kindness.
and the Team at The Center For Progressive Christianity
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