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bourgeault rohr et al10jan2012.pdf

bourgeault rohr et al10jan2012.pdf

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Published by John Sobert Sylvest
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Published by: John Sobert Sylvest on Jan 30, 2012
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 johnboy.philotheahttp://johnboy.philothea.net/Posted 10 January 2012 10:11 PMSo many, both East & West, tend to get epistemology wrong (per my take on things,anyway). So, in recent years, when I go spelunking for spiritual treasures, I have learned towear a hermeneutical hard hat to avoid gouging my empirical/logical head on erroneouspropositional stalactites and thick existential boots to avoid stubbing my Gospel-ready toeson heterodox axiological stalagmites.Human value-realizations, in general, and where religion is concerned, especially, are notprimarily realized through exercises like formal propositional logic and conceptual map-making. This means that, if we get one or more premises wrong, all value will not be lostand our edifice of faith will not come tumbling down (such as from the removal of somefoundational epistemic cornerstone).Instead, our realization of values is much more informal, a lot more like a simplecombination of love and common sense, which grows from our actively engagedparticipatory imaginations. These imaginations are like our hometown knowledge,something we know backward and forward but cannot always easily articulate, for example,such as when we try in vain to help some out of town visitor with directions.This is why we can so often find ourselves positively resonating with others' evaluativeposits, with their practical approaches, with their moral sentiments, with their spiritualaspirations, with their social inclinations, with their cultural affinities, with their aestheticsensibilities and even with their political prescriptions, only to otherwise, even perhapsmuch later, discover that we differ profoundly regarding their religious apologetics!Because both life, in general, and religion, in particular, are far more common sensical,pragmatic and existential than formally logical, our religious 'argument' will be grounded inwhat I like to call an 'existential disjunctive' or a living as if and its so-called philosophy willbest be expressed through a life well-lived and much less so through any conceptualformulations. This is to suggest that it makes a lot more sense when it comes to religion to,as the cliche' goes, do as I do and not as I say because, the fact of the matter is, I have foundvery few people who can offer a fully coherent apologetic for their deepest existentialorientations even though I have encountered very many who are, otherwise and
apparently, living lives so very lovingly, so very well!It is precisely because of our immersion in dualistic thinking and problem-solving that weprovide such miserably reductionistic accounts of the richly textured, heavenly-contoureddepth dimensions of our unfathomable human experience as imago Dei! Only story-telling,lyrics, song and koan can even begin to convey the full participatory constellation of humanbelonging, desiring, behaving and believing! Whether encountering another in person or asan author, then, I am very much interested in what manner of community they participate,what constellation of desires, practices and beliefs they gaze at, all of this taken as a whole,and find that this will always be much more informative regarding my discernment of theiractual existential orientation than any particular practice or belief of theirs otherwiseconsidered out of context. (Concretely, for example, do they practice the sacraments? valueEucharist? engage liturgical prayer? kataphatic devotion? communal discernment? pray theCredo? value science, philosophy & culture? live the moral life? affirm community?) This isnot to diminish any errors of theirs that I might encounter but it is to suggest that it isworthwhile investigating whether or not that error is located in their existential living out of the mystery or, rather, in their inartful accounting of same. This is also to suggest that thereis a wealth of wisdom to be mined from our encounters with others of all traditions.A lot of names have been mentioned along with Bourgeault's - Rohr, Keating, Barnhart,Marion, Roberts, Panikkar, Tolle, Wilber and others. I'm not going to wholesale endorse ordefend anyone's entire approach but will critique one element at a time. Consistent withwhat I have said above, though, I can tell you that I have mined GREAT VALUE from theseauthors, some more than others, some less. I have found, at times, that, in some ways,certain authors get hypercritical of the West while over-romanticizing the East. Many othersdo just the opposite. Our first clues will ordinarily involve some false-dichotomy, either-orthinking, all or nothing approaches, categorical dismissals or uncritical defenses. Anotherclue will involve failures of nuance, category errors, poor definitions, no disambiguations,talking past one another and such. Hence, the mission statement of my present thread atphilothea.netMy primary interest has been that of epistemology or how it is that we know what it is thatwe imagine we know. For my part, I subscribe to an integral, holistic epistemology thataspires to give each moment in every human value-realization movement its proper (notnecessarily equal!) emphasis. Easier said than done. Hence my suggested correction of Wilber's aq | al with my aq | al | at or all quadrants | all levels | alt the time ( kairos notchronos). This is also how we correct either an undue emphasis on either dualistic ornondual approaches. But beyond these concerns of epistemology, both properly consideredand properly articulated, there is MUCH to recommend, in my view, in the approach of those who pursue inter-faith and inter-religious dialogue and reconciliation. I resonate with
the overall thrust of these visionaries even as I offer my corrections (whetherepistemological, metaphysical or theological). These efforts are relatively new and the stateof the art is immature. It is important, then, that we give everyone a fair hearing and thebenefit of the doubt. It is true enough that we must avoid any facile syncretism, insidiousindifferentism or false irenicism. But it is equally true that we recognize and affirm the truth,beauty, goodness and love found in others' approaches, even while critiquing any errors, forthere is but One Author and Gift-Giver, Who lavishes such gifts and does not hold back.To the point regarding Bourgeault, then, as I mentioned on the other thread, she doesappear to present a false choice between soteriology and sophiology. But this isn't fatal for,while her critique of the sophiological tradition in the West somewhat misses its mark froma theoretical perspective (it's in our core teachings and tradition), it is, in my view,otherwise pretty much spot-on from a practical perspective (as per Merton, too many arebeing merely socialized, too few fully engaging transformation). Personally, I am much lessinterested in the evidential questions and answers regarding Jesus' celibacy, whether drawnfrom exegetical interpretations (Bourgeault) or literal data-based descriptions (Brown), andmuch more interested in why anyone imagines that it would change the meaning of Jesus'life or overturn any essential teachings of the apostolic tradition. Also, Bourgeault is NOTpresenting a false dichotomy between celibate and noncelibate spirituality but is clearlyspeaking to elements in our tradition that have perversely over-emphasized the former. As Iwrote on my own thread: In the rather narrow issue under consideration (i.e. the genderand sex part of the Jesus Path ), our Christian faithful writ large have a pretty darned goodsense of how those realities should or should not be approached when it comes to churchdisciplines, moral doctrines and formative spiritualities. I find Bourgeault's critique spot-onand her general sensibilities in that regard positively refreshing! Again, whatever one maythink of her imaginal interpretations regarding Mary Magdalene and Jesus, the far moreimportant question is WHY does it rankle this person or that? Some have better objectionsthan others, to be sure, but there is no kidding ourselves regarding the dysfunction arising(and persisting) in manifold and multiform ways regarding sex and gender in some elementsof our tradition?!!!My main point is, I reckon, that the values woven into the fabric of anyone's spiritual,religious, theological & philosophical garments will not wholly unravel from a few heterodoxthreads or pulls of propositional inconsistency; even though human beings do not alwaysproperly don their formal epistemic attire, this does not mean that they will necessarily alsobe axiologically naked. johnboy.philotheahttp://johnboy.philothea.net/

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