Pragmatic Buddhism, Westernized Dharma, 21st-century Sangha


When I was about fifteen years old, I accidentally ran into some of the classic early meditation experiences described in the ancient texts and my reluctant spiritual quest began. I did not realize what had happened, nor did I realize that I had crossed something like a point of no return, something I would later call “The Arising and Passing Away.” I knew that I had had a very strange dream with bright lights, that my entire body and world had seemed to explode like fireworks, and that aft … [Read more...]

Do We Need a Moratorium on the Word “God”?


I have been trying to find a way of being religious that’s still possible (or maybe the word is “decent”) for us. What would it be like to be religious without fudging our best thoughts, without repressing anything we have learned...? What would it be like to be religious when we can’t really believe any of that glorious stuff — creation ex nihilo, virgin birth, bodily resurrection — we used to believe? It’s not decent, I think, to pretend to believe it, or to do a fancy philosophical number on “ … [Read more...]

Native American Spiritualities: Appropriation and Reciprocity


The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka , and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made … [Read more...]

The First Source: Direct Experience


In 1962, only a couple of years after I was born, pollsters found that 2% of Americans claimed to have had a “mystical experience” of God. In 1976...that number had risen to 31% of the population.... By 2009, 48% of Americans confessed that they had had a mystical encounter with the divine. ...Not everyone who has experienced [the Sacred] afresh is an evangelical, fundamentalist, or Pentecostal. Indeed, they hail from many sorts of faiths.... What if the 1970s were not simply an evangelical rev … [Read more...]

Individuation, The Beatles, and the Journey to Wholeness

Note: This post is part of our Lenten study of Joyce Rockwood Hudson's book Natural Spirituality: Recovering the Wisdom Tradition in Christianity. Links to the previous installments in this series on “Jungian Spirituality” will be included at the end of each post in this series. In the evangelical Christianity of my childhood, the major turning point in someone’s spiritual journey was “accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.” Once you believed that “Jesus died on the cross for y … [Read more...]

Jungian Spirituality: A Sermon Series Retrospective


For Lent, I preached a five-part series on Jungian Spirituality, based on Joyce Rockwood Hudson's book Natural Spirituality: Recovering the Wisdom Tradition in Christianity. The following is a brief description of each of the sermons in this series:Confronting the Unconscious: From Supernatural to Natural Spirituality We should be extraordinarily careful about attributing causation to God and meaning to events. And I am, by no means, promoting a variation of the harmful canard that “ … [Read more...]