July 2nd, 2010

Meditations on Jesus' Sermon I Introduction

A month ago, i started reading the Dhammapada, it has been a source of pleasure and inspiration.
Thirty-four years ago i started reading the Tao te Ching, it changed my life.  I go to it almost daily.
About seventy years ago, i started reading the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of the Gospel According to Matthew.  Long before i started reading it i had been told that it was "God's word."  When i came to believe that the Judeo-Christian Bible was no more God's word than were the scriptures of other faiths, the "sermon on the mount" continued to have a special place in my brain and heart.  It seemed a simple but difficult ethic, perhaps impossible to live out in the modern world, but still a beacon for any spiritual traveler wanting the world to be a better place and him or herself to be a better person.  But i have never looked at the "sermon" with fresh eyes, letting it speak to me in the moment rather than out of the past, out of 2000 years of Jewish, Christian, Roman, European, Protestant, and American histories and cultures.

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Whether i am reading for meditation or study. i take a position of methodological agnosticism.  I ask the text to tell me what it means, not scholars, not authorities, not theologians, not even the author.  If it ever appears that i am mocking someone's sacred text, this is never my intent.

Blessings, love and peace to everybody.