Solidarity Instead of Judgment - InterSpiritual Mysticism
Jon: Interesting post from Richard Rohr, I am not sure if I agree with all the conclusions, would have to read it a few more times before I make a judgment, and then really think and pray about it.
He says “Most Christians have been discouraged from exploring the teachings and practices of other religions, but I believe the loving and universal scope of Jesus Christ provides us with a model of how to recognize and celebrate truth on the many different paths to God…. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the point of the Christian life is not to distinguish oneself from the other world religions, but to stand in radical solidarity with everyone and everything else. This is the full, final, and intended effect of the Incarnation—symbolized by the cross, which is God’s great act of solidarity instead of judgment.”
I would love to hear other reactions to this post. I agree we can celebrate truth on the many different paths to God, but I don’t find a strong statement there saying Jesus is the Truth.
I do think there is truth to standing with radical solidarity with others, not sure though about with everyone and everything else as Rohr proposes. Paul said “to the Jew, I became as a Jew…(1 Corinthians 9:22), but the purpose was to win the Jews to Christ, not just a show of solidarity.
I think this one on InterSpiritual Mysticism falls into that New Age category. True that Jesus had Roman, pagan, Jewish, Pharisee, Gentile, Syrian, etc followers, reaching out to all of them, but it seems to me that what He did was to go around everywhere doing good and that attracted seekers from all walks and persuasions of life to him, as true seekers, but as Him drawing them into the Kingdom, not to be in solidarity with them.
He said He came to reach the lost of Israel first, which didn't work out so well, and the others during His time were attracted to his sample and message enough to cross the social boundaries and come to Him. (He even called that one woman a dog going for scraps of food meant for the chosen--He didn't sound too "inclusive" there.) I'm not thinking or saying that Jesus is exclusive; not at all, but more the approach that if He be lifted up He will call all men unto Him.
I think separation from the world is more important--coming out and not partaking. Aren't we, by reason of salvation different? RR said, "I’d go so far as to say that the point of the Christian life is not to distinguish oneself from the other world religions, but to stand in radical solidarity with everyone and everything else." That sounds a little too accepting--too broad--to me. Almost to the point that it leaves one with the feeling that he's saying that all paths can lead to heaven.
When "in Rome we become as Romans"--all things to all men--but in the "red like a radish but white on the inside" concept. RR sounded more like dive in completely. Maybe our job is to draw a circle that includes others, and IF they so choose to step into that circle to be included (i.e. accept the message) that's wonderful, but not everyone will.
These are some initial thoughts, and I've been told that I can be too B/W at times. heh. Maybe RR probably isn't being as one sided as I'm painting him. I only read it once and like you said should probably read it again to catch all he said. Maybe he brings the balance out better than my take away.
But I kind of apply the spirit of the article, when it comes to living in a community. You can create a Christian community or a monastery but to live in a community with people who don't share the same faith is a challenge. That's where you have to help people not to be judgemental. It aids in creating a positive atmosphere and uplifting environment.
I researched more about the CAC community. Having lived in Albuquerque for 5 years, where the group started, I understand their roots as New Mexico is the "Land of Enchantment" with a lot of new age type people there.
When it comes to Jesus, God's love and standard, the balance between unconditional love and HIS righteous judgement is such a fine line. I do like when articles make me think and examine my own heart. I am very strong in the foundation principles of the Gospel but also feel that the ability to love others unconditionally is extremely important. We try hard to love those in our community but make sure they know our faith and Biblical principles.
Maybe it's sort of like that midrash that David sent around about the angels joining the song of the Israelites and that God asked them to be silent; that he was grieving for his children, the Egyptians, who had drown, and for their firstborn lost in the plague of death, and though the rejoicing of the Israelites was understandable, for justice was visited on the Egyptians, heaven would remain silent, remembering the enemies of Israel whom God yet loves. Was God standing in solidarity with the Eqyptians?
You love those within your community even though they may not at the end of the day partake of the heavenly reward you are offering them. A lot of Egyptians back then were probably apolitical and emotionally and physically removed from the commotion and issues going on between Moses and the Jews with Pharaoh and his team that was happening way over on the other side of the city, but didn't even they lose their firstborn or maybe a relative in the military at the Red Sea because of their unbelief?
So though we try to understand them, who do we stand in solidarity with?
It's also interesting, that some of the biggest problem cases in our community were professing Christians. Granted, they had a few mental issues but the Christian belief system caused them to be self-righteous, making them feel a little bit better than everyone else.
I wish Jesus was a little more clear on self-righteousness and that being the great sin of all. It's amazing how Christians can be so judgemental of abortion, gays, sex but ignorant of pride and self-righteousness.
I watched a movie on Netflix. "The Man Who Knew Infinity". True story and well done. I thought it was good, and maybe because we've been having this discussion I thought it illustrated similar lessons and thinking to our discussion. Though some of the roles are different the point remains.
I know that due to my joining with them in their prayers, they are more open to me when I share my beliefs about the God we both love. A point I often try to share with Muslims is that God is a relational God and one who wants to be intimately involved in our lives.
So yes, I am showing a lot of solidarity with Muslims, but I do so with the intent of sharing more of the God we find in Jesus, who is the perfect image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).
I used to witness to Muslims in Italy and Spain, and when I told them I’d read the Koran, they’d usually want to talk about it, and then they’d often be open to talking about the Bible and I’d encourage them to read it. Jesus said, “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” I think there’ll be a lot of “other sheep” in heaven from other religions because they’ll eventually receive the “one shepherd,” whether it’s before or after they die. I don’t think they’ll be there just because they’re fervently believers in their own religion, though, the “many paths to heaven” bit. I could be wrong in all this, because who knows what heaven holds, but that’s the way I see it right now. And it’s interesting to discuss it all like this.