Saturday, October 11, 2008

Maybe that's what I am going to say...

I am off today to be a minor panelist at a conference here in Portland that is billed as "Christian-Buddhist Dialogue."

I feel very much in over my head but trust that God will give me the words to say in the brief time allotted to hear what I might say. I didn't seek this and did a lot of processing before saying I'd do it. I had the help of Friends in making my decision; in fact, the invitation came from Friends who were contacted by the conference organizers asking for someone to "represent us" in this dialogue.

I am, of course, not the best "representative" for our Christian "side." The Christian-Buddhist Dialogue is something that goes on inside my head every day; a Buddhist practice of meditation, listening to Dharma talks and reading Buddhist literature sits easy on top of my Christian walk.

Yeah, I know what some Christians (and even some Buddhists) would say about that but what other people think of me is sometimes none of my business. It's always the business of that Guide who is in constant contact with me and holding it all up to me. No mirror, indeed.

I don't say that every "religion" is "right" or "equally valid" except when I say it ironically: pretty much all, for example, seem to chime on in agreement about redemptive violence when the chips are down. They are all equally valid.

I don't find the word "religion" very helpful, frankly.

I find the phrase "our way of being religious together" or "living out our spirituality together" or "working out our salvation together" more helpful, more skillful, if you will, more descriptive of what perfects, matures, completes--transforms--makes me more fit for the purpose: love God with all your...

I know it's not about "notions"--those concepts about the origin, the nature and the intent of God that cannot be proved and that divide us, both inside and among the various spiritual traditions. It's about how one lives out one's life, how one's practice, one's walk, leads to a convergence with Christ, the Spirit, God, Goddess, the Divine, the transcendent, the ultimate concern, the Big Kahuna, the Great Perhaps, The Unknown God, _______ (the blank left for anyone to fill in as moved) .

Whether the Eight Fold Path (I hafta dig a spiritual tradition that deals in so many lists) or the Fruits of the Spirit--it's about what I am becoming.

Friends have always known that one could be "saved" without ever hearing the name of Jesus or holding a Bible. Fox, Penn, Woolman; far back Friends said that the Light was available to all and that those who heeded it and submitted to its guidance would be transformed, conformed, to it. Farther back the book of John--no doubt written in that name by Friends--said it.

Maybe this is what I am going to say, today. I'll know once I open my mouth.

Pray for me.

You can even hold me in the Light.

Just don't call me "Christo Centric."

The feeling, the knowledge, I experience every time that rock rolls away and unseals the tomb of my heart, the tomb into which I consign Christ when I crucify It so I can follow my many vanities, that's when I know I am a Christian. Confronted, again, with love and support in that metaphorical garden of ressurection, ready to go back to work with/on me, I know I am not anything "centric." The name does not belong to every spirit that tries to use it, but Christ by any name is not just something that is part of my life. I am, rather, part of Its life--whatever It is being called at the moment.

And I know that millions of others have (and have had) that same feeling, share that same knowledge and guidance, even though they would never in a million years or in forty days and forty nights describe that shared experience--the knowledge of that guidance--in those words.

"Straddling the divides, until they close beneath our feet"

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