Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Journey of a thousand miles...

...begins with a single step.

This week has been part of a journey for me. My first memories of learning about other religions were in Religious Education Classes in High School. The memories are ones of boredom and disinterest.

My next memories are from Sunday School and my work with the Oasis Foundation. There the emphasis was upon teaching us enough about what the different religions believe so we could learn strategies to convert them to Christianity.

This week has been about learning, to appreciate the uniqueness of different faith expressions.

It's been a journey that has brought up those old emotions of 'Right and Wrong'. I've already blogged about what does my need to say Christianity is right and everyone else is wrong say about me.

Two things that have helped this week:

1) On monday in the introduction to Interfaith Spiritual Direction it was said 'When you meet a person you look for commonalities, not differences.' As I've listened to stories out of faith traditions different to my own I've heard much that is common. It makes me reflect on how on the journey of Spirituality different traditions learn remarkably similar lessons. For example, this morning we heard a tale from the Mahabharata (one of the Hindu holy books), whose teaching was remarkably similar to the book of Ecclesiastes. Another speaker this week said that people may find differences of Theology but find remarkable similarities of Practice. The monks who practice Centering Prayer discover much in common with monks who practice Zen.

Where this leads me I don't know...but it is great thought for further reflection and reading.

2) When a person dies, God doesn't give them a Pop Quiz in Theology as an entrance exam into Heaven. There is Grace over all of this. That gives me hope even as I question.

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