Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Christians and Asian spiritual practices

A Spirithome.com site reader asked in 2003 :

>> The only thing that bothered me is when I did a search on your
>> site and it shows a sponsor for the site being one that is for an
>> Eastern "religious" or spiritual healing technique.

Spirithome is not 'sponsored' by anyone. It takes no money. Nor
does Spirithome promote web sites, though two sites do get special
mentions because of their causes : Bread for the World and Habitat
For Humanity. However, some 'gateway' sites link to Spirithome, and
they can put up ads for whomever they want on their site as they give
you access to mine. I have no say in that.

>> Eastern "religious" or spiritual healing technique [Reiki].

I have many links on the links pages. They are there to help
people honestly look through the Web on spiritual matters. I'm
there to share the love of Christ with people on the Web, not
to 'sell' Jesus like a commodity. I do have links to
non-Christian spiritual stuff, and use it sometimes in explaining
the Christian faith. While I believe these can't take you all the
way through to God or make you good with God, they can
sometimes be informative and helpful. Asian techniques are not always
anti-Christian. Some of them are simply real discoveries about
the human body and mind
which were made within a non-Christian
culture and were thus explained in a non-Christian way, as they
knew how. A Christian would need to learn it thoroughly, and
mesh it with the Bible and the main framework of the
Christian faith, knowing there are likely to be some points of
contact, just as Thomas Aquinas did with classic Greek
philosophy, and as early Celtic Christians did with their culture.
God works in non-Christians, too, and Christians can adapt from
them whatever builds people up or teaches them better, so long as
it's understood in a gospel way.

Today's Christians are doing this with yoga and tai chi,
with much practical benefit. These practices haven't done
much good for me personally, but they've been very helpful
for the spirituality of other Christians that I know. The main
benefit appears to be that by gearing their bodies down, they
can be in better touch with their bodies and their thoughts. I
don't know enough about Reiki to know if there are comparable
benefits from it, so I won't comment on its use.

I wish the Christians who are convinced of the value of
yoga and tai chi would take much more seriously the task
of fully re-thinking them in a way that springs from the
core of Christian faith and the gospel.
But most of the
explanations I've read mostly cut-and-paste the Asian-
religions' explanations (including some theories about inner forces
and spirits which mesh poorly with what Jesus taught, and sometimes
even verge on pseudo-science), and then sprinkle Christian
theological and/or spiritual chatter and/or Bible citations over
it like sesame seeds on a bun -- it sits on top but doesn't
really change the bun. When that's so, it can't be
claimed as an expression of their faith in Christ. I'm
hoping some Christians, preferably Asian ones, would take
on this task 'for the masses'.

1 comment:

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