Saturday, April 11, 2009

On the other hand, there are Episcopalians ....

to whom I might see eye to eye ...

“The lay ordination was a welcoming rite for me to commit myself to the path to discover why I suffer or why other people suffer,” Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester told the Times of London shortly after his election as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan on February 21. Forrester went on to explain that he took jukai—the lay ordination rite of Zen Buddhism—“[T]o use the practice of meditation to help that suffering.”

And evidently there are some Episcopalians that have a problem with helping one cultivate mindfulness to alleviate suffering...

“The bottom line is that Forrester has embraced something foreign and contradictory,” wrote Greg Griffith, a blogger at the conservative Anglican Web site Stand Firm in Faith. “Call it a faith, call it a philosophy, call it what you will but it is not Christianity. One simply cannot embrace the doctrines of Buddhism—Zen or any other flavor—and simultaneously embrace the doctrines of Christianity.”

“The reality is that this particular meditative practice is not in step with Christian doctrine,” concurred James Tonkowich, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a think tank with ties to the neo-conservative movement and a history of exploiting wedge issues in order to widen rifts in mainline Protestant denominations. “The issue is not whether meditation is good,” Tonkowich said, “it is what is being meditated on.”

The issue, to me, at least is efficacy, and if the practice is effective, it is monstrous to use force or coercion to abjure one to abstain from the practice, save for the fact that such a coercer might be ignorant of the effects of what he might be doing.

And yeah, the practices of Zen are effective. Cultivating mindfulness and acting from mindfulness is effective to help people.

Call it Christianity, call it anything you want, but if you're doing this practice, it's probably helping and if you're trying to get people to avoid or stop the practice you're probably not helping, but you might need some help.

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