Local and Universal

Christianity claims to be a universal spirituality: it's for all people, at all times, in all places. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations," Jesus instructs his followers at the close of the Gospel of Matthew. All the nations: everyone is invited. It's not just for Jewish folks, or people from the Middle East, or people of European ancestry. It's for everybody. As a monotheistic faith, it worships a God who is seen to be the One God for all people and places. No matter what your c … [Read more...]

Finding the True Path

A reader of my blog has emailed me the following questions. They seem to involve the question of how to embrace the Christian mystery when one cannot be sure if it is the "true" path or not. As a former neo-pagan, didn't you find getting to grips with Christianity's necessity to hold a set number of essential beliefs? Don't you have any doubts and don't you find them restricting? I was wondering if you knew much about Islamic mysticism - sufism - and if you had ever written something about it … [Read more...]

How Little We Know, How Much We Miss

I'm entering into 2010 reflecting on the limits of knowledge and the challenges facing anyone interested in interreligious dialogue or interfaith spirituality. If we are not humbled by how little we know, we are in trouble.Ali of Meadowsweet & Myrrh, in her latest contribution to a conversation we've been having about the movie Avatar and the representation of pagan, indigenous and/or pantheistic spirituality in that movie, has this perceptive insight: I am all for interfaith dialogue and … [Read more...]

Pandora, Ken Wilber, and William Blake

Ali at Meadowsweet & Myrrh has written a thoughtful and perceptive post in response to my review of Avatar that unfolds out into her own nuanced review of the movie. I would commend this to anyone who reads my blog. Here are my admittedly rambling and random thoughts in response to her articulate writing. Hopefully these thoughts, disjointed as they might be, can stimulate even further reflection and conversation for those who choose to read them. … [Read more...]

Grace and the Goddess: AVATAR as a Christian/Pagan Parable

James Cameron's new film, Avatar, tells a story we've all heard before; as I commented on Twitter last night, it is Dances with Wolves meets Star Trek: Insurrection, with elements of The Matrix and Whale Rider thrown in. But Avatar is grander and more epic than any of these films, and of course, it's a stunning achievement of CGI artistry. For its sheer beauty, go see it. But critics are whining that the story is "weak" or "boring" and I think they're rather justified in their gripes. … [Read more...]

Wise as Serpents and Innocent as Doves

Ken Wilber describes a significant malaise of our time as "boomeritis." What he means by this is the tendency among highly educated and self-actualized persons (as typified by the baby boomer generation) to embrace values that include pluralism, egalitarianism, subjective/personal understandings of truth, and a general "live and let live" ethos, but that often appears marred by egocentrism, narcissism, and self-absorption. In other words, a laudable value system that promotes freedom of … [Read more...]

That which is different

My brother Don and I were chatting this morning, and I mentioned an evangelical friend of mine who has a "secret" interest in Catholic mysticism. Don, who describes himself as an "agnostic hedonist," made the following fascinating observation: You know, the evangelical movement could do so much good, but people's fear of that which is different just screws things up. Now, in their defense, the fear of "that which is different" is not unique to evangelicals (or to Christians in general). In fact, … [Read more...]