November 7th, 2010

New Old Book

I'm enjoying a book i picked up at the thrift store our last visit there.  Actually, its not that old, (copyright 2008), and it looks brand new.  It must have been donated without having been read.  I get some of my best books that way; my taste in reading is strange, i guess.  Nonetheless, i grieve for the person who was given this book then didn't read it.  Its The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind--a New Perspective on Christ and his Message, by Cynthia Bourgeault.

I'm only forty pages in, and all ready i have learned some exciting new stuff, have been given some new metaphors for and new ways of talking about other stuff, and found some things to disagree with and argue with.  Who could want more out of a book!

New stuff:  Taoist Christianity?  Yes, the Nestorians made it to China and by the time they got shut down around 975 a,d. they had assimilated Buddhist and Taoist thinking and images for well over 300 years.  So now we have the "Jesus Sutras" which are high on my to read list.

New way to put something: Discussing the authority of the Roman Catholic Church is very painful and difficult for me.  Here is a perfect rejoinder:
      "...when we use these terms (gnostic and gnosticism) so disparagingly, we are actually exposing our deeply entrenched habit of viewing the Christian world through an exclusively Western filter--and of course what this really means is that we are looking at it through a Roman filter.  The two chief earmarks of the Roman filter are that it tends to confuse unity with uniformity and it puts a high priority on order and authority."
(Cynthia Bourgeault, p. 15).

New Metaphor:  We need to upgrade from a binary (egoic) operating system to a unitary system.  Life is going to look a lot different if we do.

Something to take issue with: She suggests (following Ken Wilber) that we need to grow into this new awareness of unity and spirituality (probably true), but that we are much more advanced than "children or stone age peoples."  Well, when anyone starts to demean aboriginal spiritualities, that's like calling my mother a whore.  Whether its true or not, i'm going to fight you on it.  I have gotten so much from the wisdom of American Indians and other First Peoples that i''m not going to be convinced that they have much to learn spiritually from us.  Our problem is that we have so much b______t to unlearn if we are to restore what the ancient one's had as a free gift from the spirit world.

As i said, i'm only 40 pages in but i expect to love this book.  After writing about Jesus' teachings (The kingdom of  heaven. Metanoia,  The Gospel of Thomas, Kenosis, and Christian "tantra'"), and the "Mysteries of Jesus" (incarnation, Passsion, Crucifixion, and Easter), she will put the icing on the cake (i hope) by discussing "Christian Wisdom Practices:"(Centering Prayer/Meditation, Lecto Divina, Chanting and Psalmody, Welcoming (which i am unaware of), and Eucharist.