Buddhist Christianity

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/Andrea_Mantegna_035.jpg“God is three, and God is One.” What is that, but a Koan? Koans such as “the sound of one hand clapping” are impossible things, which one tries to understand then simply accepts. Accepting the impossible, realising it is even though it does not make sense, is an important part of spiritual maturity and wisdom. It is a pity that Christians, most damagingly Calvin, have tried to make sense of the Trinity and other doctrine, and it is our fault that Westerners have to turn to Eastern Wisdom where lived Christianity could have given some of the answers.

Religion helps one surrender the need for things to be other than they are, and I have been thinking of my progress in surrendering through the prism of the Christian concept of Faith and Works. James’ epistle mocks faith without works: “So you believe Jesus is the Christ? The devils in Hell believe that, and tremble.” Pelagius, the British heretic, believed one could earn Heaven.

I have a vague idea that Catholic and Reformed official views differ on this, but do not know how precisely. God gave God’s only son to be a sacrifice, to be Incarnated as a human being. We could not earn God’s mercy, so God gave it freely, asking for nothing, like the father of the Prodigal son.

I am terrified of what I imagine are other people’s demands on me, and I flee, and so I want my own salvation through my own Works: I will do Good, and will be OK. Not in the eyes of God, but those of Society. And it occurs to me that no-one has any demands of me. My landlord would like the rent paid, but apart from that I can think of none. I have just skived off CAB this week, and Les forgives me. He is not angry. The judgment on me, if any, is my own.

The demands on me, and the salvation I might gain through meeting them, are alike my own illusory creation.

So rather than saving myself through Works, I seek salvation through Faith. I believe and trust in the World, in Reality. Everything is OK. There is no demand I can meet, no Good I can be, that will make everything OK, that brings within my power and control the ability to Make it all right, and much of my effort towards that and certainly my worry (adding a cubit to my stature?) has been wasted, and yet so far, everything has been alright. I have not always been happy, or seen my way clear, but I have always been all right.

Christianity has the idea of God incarnate, God coming into being as a human, God’s complete empathy with any human suffering possible, God suffering with God’s suffering creation.

I have had faith in myself. Now, I will to have Faith.

9 thoughts on “Buddhist Christianity

          • I could see myself growing as a person, but not necessarily spiritually. If that makes sense. If I could combine the grace aspect there with the Biblical truth aspect of my church in my youth, then it would be complete. In fact, my husband and I attend there now and are considering raising our children in both simultaneously. Attending every other Sunday to both styles. That’s why we’re looking so carefully, because we’re worried about how our children will be influenced by the church. Same that we have to worry isn’t ?
            Anyway…
            Truth-grace = legalism. Grace – truth = license and truth + grace = love. Perhaps by attending a legalistic church and a grace only church half the time each, we could create a balance for our kids, since we can’t seem to find one that has both.
            Not that we won’t take responsibility for their spiritual upbringing we just both know from experience how much affect the church can have.

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            • “Augustine said that if you can’t explain how a Biblical passage supports loving God or loving neighbor, then you don’t understand it well enough to apply it.” “love cannot be love if it’s unholy and holiness cannot be holy if it’s unloving.” Two quotes from this comments thread, which I have found interesting recently.

              You challenge me as a Quaker. I have always sought to be good, and I hope your Unitarians would too- though now my “good” seems more like fulfilling my true nature, rather than following rules, and doing what I am moved to as good. I don’t know. I do not believe in original sin, I give up striving for what I might have thought to be “good”- this is my decorous mid-life crisis, trying to “find myself”. Quakers will listen if I speak, but not give me boundaries, generally, that is my job.

              Would the Unitarians condemn nothing? Or if not condemn, at least deprecate? Your children do need rules and boundaries, I think, and I have seen some beautiful children grow up with Quakers or new-age types, who are not strong on the Legalism.

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            • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Jesus said no one but God is good.
              I think I could be a Quaker, I just have no idea where a community of Quakers would be in my area. We don’t seem to have much diversity.
              They would condemn what hurts others. That’s where their morality is Christ-like, however they never mention a right way or Christ or anything Biblical. If it’s right; it’s right because it does no harm and does good. They have the love of Christ, they just don’t call it such. They encourage all paths of spirituality such as all the major religions and even the ones not generally considered such like atheism, satanism and humanism. So, it’s like very new age. It’s just not church to me. there’s no right and wrong (unless there’s harm done) there are only differences. it’s all questions and no answers. Exactly the opposite of what I grew up in. Which was all answers, and questions are anti-faith.

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            • Let your ear hear what your tongue speaks. Yes, the moral life of Unitarians is sufficient. Where you grew up was all answers, but the problem is that the answers do not fit everyone.

              Harm may be subtle, and something one does which cannot harm another may harm herself. We drink to relax and unwind and escape our problems, and that can do good, or harm if done too much. An “Answer” would say, like the Methodists used to, that any drinking of alcohol whatsoever was wrong. And- if you have had a hard week at work, a glass of wine on Friday evening may be what you need. The Unitarians will not give you an Answer, but they would be alert to where you harm, and might even tell you- but would be more concerned to care for you so you did not harm yourself.

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            • Yes. I think we all need that kind of grace. I just don’t feel like it’s church. I feel like it’s a meeting of very kind generous and moral people who know something, maybe nothing of God and Jesus. I want that Jesus aspect with the morality and love. Both have their values. But I think I need the grace right now. I’ve had enough legalistic truth to last a long time.

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