Lately I have been thinking about the Bible. Yes, you heard me correctly!
A couple things have happened over the last several months that have perked my curiosity of what might be found in arguably the most important religious text ever produced.
First was being exposed to some Christians, over the last couple of years, who have been an example to me of how to live your faith in a way that serves as an attraction rather than some form of promotion. Something that quite honestly hasn't been my experience in the past.
Second was a discussion around the book of Genesis and relationships with my good friend and go to guy for all things Christian Father Jerome Cudden, when he stayed at the house last week. On a side note, I always enjoy that the Catholic Priest wants to stay with the Buddhist and his wife when he finds himself in Southern California. We are like a joke waiting to happen...A Buddhist and a Catholic Priest walk into a sushi restaraunt...
And third is the dust up around Glenn Beck, of all people, and the health care debate.
And the health care debate has created a lot of discussion about how far, we as a country are willing to go, to provide universal health care for all who need it. Which is my code for the poor and marginalized.
Lastly, the final straw that perked my interest was when I caught a discussion on NPR yesterday about the new book out by Christian evangelical Brian McClaren, A New Kind of Christianity, which takes aim at
some core doctrinal beliefs. McLaren is rethinking Jesus' mission on
Earth, and even the purpose of the crucifixion.
Now I'm no expert nor do I wish to offend anyone's doctrinal beliefs, but McClaren's ideas did interest me..
"The view of the cross that I was given growing up, in a sense, has
a God who needs blood in order to be appeased," McLaren says. "If this
God doesn't see blood, God can't forgive."
McLaren believes that version of God is a misreading of the Bible.
revealed in Christ crucified shows us a vision of God that identifies
with the victim rather than the perpetrator, identifies with the one
suffering rather than the one inflicting suffering," he says.
says modern evangelicalism underplays that Jesus — who spent most of
his time with the poor, the sick and the sinners — saved his wrath
primarily for hard-core religious leaders.
Now these are ideas I can get behind. And ideas I'm interested in learning more about.
This last weekend I had the opportunity to go to Sedona and participate in my best friend Jerome's wedding. It had been a while since I was last in Sedona and had forgotten how beautiful it really is up there. The wedding was outdoors and went off beautifully and I had the honor of standing up as best man. It was great to spend some time with Kim and Jerome and have a chance to breathe again in the great outdoors. Here's some pics:
I actually read the book Eat, Pray, Love and made all the way to Bali with Elizabeth Gilbert but lost interest after that. Not really a happy ending kinda guy. I just don't believe spiritual journey's have that kind of trajectory. Anyway, I know this book has had a large impact on a lot of people, though there has been some criticism about this being a white woman with privilege who had the ability to go away for a year to find herself, where as most women would not be afforded such an opportunity. Having said that I think at the end of the day any book that moves someone to seek a little bit about what is important to them, no matter their present living condition, can't be that bad...right? Here's the trailer to to the new movie coming and after that a pretty good talk Gilbert gave at TED. Any thoughts?
try, try, try for 10,000 years non-stop. soon get enlightenment and save all beings from suffering
This Saturday I followed through with something that I had been wanting to do for some time. I took the five precepts at the Ocean Eyes Zen Center. I knew I would eventually do it sooner or later but I wanted to do it with the right Teacher, at the right time, and with the right Sangha. I have found all of those in our little but growing Sangha right here in Huntington Beach. The ceremony was very moving for me and I'm grateful for the people that showed up to watch.
For those interested in the first five precepts are:
1. I vow to abstain from taking life.
2. I vow to abstain from taking things not given
3. I vow to abstain from misconduct done in lust.
4. I vow to abstain from lying.
5. I vow to abstain from intoxicants, taken to induce heedlessness.
From here on out I look forward to continuing my Koan practice with my Teacher and participating in my Sangha and deepening my practice right here and right now. Hopefully there will be more Precepts for me along the way. Here's some pics from the ceremony: