Question via Rudolph Bush
Last week, I had to scratch my head and admit to my friends who contribute to this blog that the well was dry. I had no questions that I thought were worth asking them. So I asked them to submit questions. And good friends that they are on our journey, several quickly chimed in.
I chose the first one over the transom, from Fr Joshua Whitfield at St. Rita Parish. It was an excellent question that I think gets to the heart of what we are trying to do here -to commune with one another over our beliefs and our common humanity.
Thanks Fr. Joshua. Here is your question.
“Who is someone from another faith tradition either another denomination or another faith altogether that has inspired you, shaped you, or formed you in your own faith? And why is it a good thing to read and study others outside your own faith tradition?”
AMY MARTIN, director emeritus, Earth Rhythms and publisher, Moonlady Media
As someone who falls into the spiritual-not-religious category, everything is outside of my faith tradition. I’ve treated myself to the whole spiritual buffet for over 40 years. Not cafeteria style of picking the nice parts and ignoring the rest, but rather dining deeply and fully.
Taoism has shaped me the most. Lao Tze’s scripture speaks in allegory so poetically that it lacks specific beliefs. No creeds or doctrines to fights over. It derives its metaphors from nature, which lifts it above human history and politics. Through Taoism, I understand how the energy of life operates.
Buddha’s tenet of non-attachment guides me through my relationships with others, from individuals to businesses and governments, and gives me perspective in almost every aspect of my life. More than any other path, Buddhism brought me peace.
Hinduism imparts to me how we must break free of human constructs to glimpse the divine. It moves my sense of time from linear to something cyclic and even flexible. Hinduism makes spirituality visceral to me, through sacred sound and movement.
From indigenous faiths, I am led to a deeper understanding of my relationship with the Earth. I’ve come to see the unique consciousness in animal, plant and mineral, the life force that throbs in storms and the sea.
But it is Christianity that brought the greatest gift, that of heart. Jesus teaches of a divine that is not just archetypal, it’s personal. Navel-gazing is all well and good, but only in right relationship with each other, with compassion and forgiveness, can we attain any transcendence. It teaches that the true spiritual lesson in life is how to proceed in love.