Monday, June 13, 2011

Learning from Other Faith Traditions

A friend of mine, a rather serious young man, quite devoted to Jesus, has been attending a Buddhist Temple lately, learning and growing in that place.

I wrote to him and said: there's much to learn, and the more we learn, the more we grow into the love and mystery of God. Sooner or later, whatever tradition into which we were born, becomes the primary choice, because God is at work in all of them. But history and cultural background play a big role. Yet to learn from other traditions always helps our faith remain faith rather than ideology.

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There was a time when Christian pulpits proclaimed the absolute rightness of the Christian Faith and the total error of everything and everyone else.

It was possible to do so because Christians lived far away and apart from much of the world, but these days, it's highly likely that our neighbors are Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or Hindu, and maybe even atheist.

Blanket condemnations no longer work, because the world is now a colleague at work, and the children of the world go to school with our children.

And we have learned far too much about the errors of the Christian Church to ever again suggest that Christianity is pure and good.

So we are learning to take our place in the family of God - a great humility at the heart of renewal.

And that can only be good for the world!