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Center for Action and Contemplation

Our Common Source

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Interfaith Friendship

Our Common Source
Thursday, December 7, 2017

[We need] a Christian identity that is both strong and kind. By strong I mean vigorous, vital, durable, motivating, faithful, attractive, and defining. . . . By kind I mean something far more robust than mere tolerance, political correctness, or coexistence: I mean benevolent, hospitable, accepting, interested, and loving, so that the stronger our Christian faith, the more goodwill we will feel and show toward those of other faiths, seeking to understand and appreciate their religion from their point of view. —Brian McLaren [1]

How can we learn to draw from the deep aquifer, the common Source of Love for all religions, without denying the goodness of our own small spring? This is the marriage of unity and diversity.

Ken Wilber says that to transcend we must include. A prerequisite for higher levels of consciousness is the ability to include our past experience and the values and perspectives of others. Those at the higher levels, the mystics of all religions, don’t reject the outer forms, symbols, and metaphors, but they insist on finding the inner meaning, depth, universality, and inclusiveness of their own spiritual tradition. Once we tap into the deeper stream of our own religion, we will recognize its fountains and springs everywhere. We cannot see this as long as we remain floating on the surface or looking at mere externals. Here we can only see differences.

Once we discover our deep source, we realize that it’s not a competition. We don’t need to put anyone down, prove them wrong, or exclude them from the great banquet. The wedding feast was Jesus’ metaphor for final and loving union. Though it is a simple metaphor, it is a good one. We are invited to the great banquet where we are all sisters and brothers. That’s not just wishful thinking. It’s the objective, metaphysical, theological, ontological shape of reality. We all came forth from God, and we will all return to God.

How did Christians turn Jesus’ message into rules for joining an exclusive, superior club? Psychology, neuroscience, and Buddhism have observed that this is how the mind works at early stages of development. With maturity, we come to recognize that all religious language is by necessity metaphorical. God is ineffable, a mystery that cannot be captured in words. In the early stages, religions get lost in protecting these metaphors, reasserting our group’s truth, and building impassable walls rather than creating bridges and gates. The global awareness we now have access to will not allow future generations to stay comfortably in our separate camps.

Gateway to Silence:
We are already one.

[1] Brian D. McLaren, Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? (Jericho Books: 2012), 10-11.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, unpublished talk at New Mexico Interfaith Dialogue, The 23rd Annual Spring Colloquium, “Mystics and Prophets: Ancient Light for Today’s World,” March 7, 2017.

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