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August 27, 2012


It is tricky sometimes. I remember a cross-cultural talk on evangelism I went to a couple of years back and the lecturer said we should bow to people from certain cultures to show respect or something - something that just doesn't sit right with me. Actually, even saying "Namaste" is uncomfortable for me - I've heard it means "I bow to the god within you" rather than just a simple hello...yep, definitely tricky.

"The relentless tenderness of Jesus challenges us to give up our false faces, our petty conceits, our irritating vanities, our preposterous pretending and become card carrying members of the messy human community." (Manning)

Paul is described undergoing some sort of vow for hair-cutting. Some eat meat offered to idols. Some don’t. Much had to do with either one’s own conscience in relation to God, or, one’s own conscience in relation to another person’s conscience. Much of this simply can’t be prescribed universally. That’s the beauty of where and how Personhood and Love outweighs, outplays, and out-values simple Mathematics.

Regarding the previous post; I’m not sure I could bow and say those words. Well then, I must not. Perhaps there are some who can in their journey toward another. Can I apply my own conscience to another’s in this (or other similar) arenas? Can I walk into a temple of a fake god and eat meat just offered in sacrifice to that fake god? I must say I could not. It appears Paul could, assuming it would not trouble the conscience of another, for he would merely do there what he does everywhere, “……do all to the glory of the one true God….” Fake gods didn’t offend his conscience, for he knew the One-True God, and Paul busied himself with befriending and seeking the soul of the other, the mind of the other, the heart of the other, which for his conscience outweighed the manmade fake oddities of this world. I’m too weak: I would place the manmade fake gods above the very lives Love Himself seeks, above the One-true-God. I cannot heal on the Sabbath.

Love Made Flesh is a bit odd here. He tells Law-Obeying Israelites they’ll never see God while telling Gentile prostitutes they will. He heals on the Sabbath. He harvests grain and eats it on the Sabbath. He is found with disciples eating with unwashed hands. Love Manifest does not sin, though, Love Manifest becomes sin. The Uncreated pours Himself into the Created, into His Beloved.

Please fix "thiings" typo...

Honestly, I think it's sad that American Evangelical Christianity has created a culture where people feel compelled to ask these kinds of questions:

For example, I had to attend a Buddhist funeral. How far can I participate and show respect without compromising?

For God's sake, when someone dies, just have some compassion. Be present and show the love that you have for the deceased and those who have survived.

If god is anywhere close to omniscient like we think God is, God can figure out what's going on in your heart.

Brgulker that's a great point. Although it's probably less of a question of that sort and more of a question of going to the temple of the Ephesian temple of their sex goddess and laying with a "priest" to show respect. There "are" lines in the's just a matter of where...... "Some" things can be prescribed universally here, though, probably not as many as we tend to believe.

And, should one be a new convert from that Buddhist background, full of some set of odd or painful nuances of which we do not share and of which we cannot imagine, and, should that conscience bother such a one, then, it is suggested that the sin is with the one insisting he go rather than with that one for refraining. I can't imagine having a problem with a Buddhist funeral, but then, I have many "not going there" items within myself which some think too liberal and which others think too rigid. Universal prescriptions are, most likely, more common than they ought to be perhaps.

I read of a man who killed a man once and would never walk past a cemetary, much less enter one for any reason ever. We could argue that the "respect" ought to be extended to that one, rather than the other way around, should he refuse to go.

We must see what the other sees to know why the other is as he is. But that means taking the time to ask. To see. Time for the Self to dive into the Other.

Yep, there is a difference between going to a say, Buddhist temple to take some photos or admire the art work and actually participating.
I follow Jesus and 'usually' know what does not honour him. We must always draw the line in the sand and stand, even if everyone hates us for it.

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod really struggles with this whole issue which blew up after the 9/11 tragedy when one of our pastors participated in a nationally televised "prayer service" at Yankee Stadium in which there was participation of Muslim and Buddhist religious leaders. We still struggle with whether it was the right or wrong thing to do even though his prayer was the "most" Christian and Trinitarian of all the Christian prayers. I personally don't think it was proper. Prayer with other Christians: no problem. Other religions: problem. Is Jesus just "another" one of the pantheon of Gods? But the problem is that IF we absent ourselves from these kinds of events (or even our local ministerium) we do risk sending the wrong signal to the community that we just don't care. Hard issue for pastors.

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