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Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

Last post 10-24-2006, 7:50 AM by Helene. 44 replies.
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  •  08-17-2006, 6:23 AM 4508 in reply to 4505

    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

    I love you answers PrickliestPear!

    I will get back to this thread soon.


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  08-24-2006, 1:06 PM 5225 in reply to 4505

    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

    PrickliestPear:

    I don't think an Integral Christianity would require beliefs about anything

    Yes, quite so.  If I 'believe' something, that implies that I don't know it.  Like any other spiritual path which ascends the spiral of consciousness, an integral Christianity would surely be about 'realising' in the spiritual sense, not assenting to a list of beliefs.  There's nothing new about this.  Think of the transformational event at Pentecost, where the disciples seem to have undergone a satori-like experience.  Think of any Christian mystic, for whom beliefs seem to be a mere ladder which becomes superfluous once they have passed from 'believing' to 'knowing'. 

     

    Smile [:)]


    'This is all the time you'll ever have'.
    ~ Dr Hannibal Lecter
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  •  08-25-2006, 10:12 AM 5305 in reply to 5225

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    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II


    I remember a video clip with Ken and Rabbi Marc Gaffni.   Rabbi Gaffni protrayed the Old Testament as "God's Blog."  It was a historical writing, and showed God's evolving compassion. (or something like that)

    I think in an integral Christianity, Jesus would be reduced to the role of ending the issue of ethnocentricity.  He opened the Jewish religion to all people, as a template for all religions to follow.  I don't think integral Christianity can cling to it being the only way.  Therefore, all religions can find a valid spiritual path.  Also, an integral Christianity would have to be transformational as well as translational.

    What if Jesus had spoken about slavery, equal rights for women, and the need to nurture children, and the now hot gay issue?  He would have surely been stoned as a mad hereitc.  Thus an integral Christianity would recognize the limit of the New Testament and look towards modern history to fill in the rest.

    There would have to be an addendum to the New Testament to include social evolution
    since Jesus, discussed within the AQAL framework. (lol)  This, unfortunately, won't happen for a long, long time.

    I have lost my faith that Jesus was the Son of The one and only God and actually was resurrected.  I don't think I can ever go back.  Nowdays, I see Jesus as a mythical story.  It's good for early purple development, but not good for developing past blue.  The onset of formal operational cognitive skills (the cognitive necessity for orange) will mark the onset of the mythical nature of the story of Jesus.

    My question is:  What kind of actual spiritual practices can be derived from the Bible that would equal the depth that is being developed at Integral Spiritual Center?  I cannot fathom this.  It is of great concern to me.  Is there a way to richly experience Big Heart?


    myspace.com/zentaimusic
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  •  08-25-2006, 12:31 PM 5326 in reply to 5305

    • maryw is not online. Last active: 09-04-2008, 12:45 PM maryw
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    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

    ats:
    My question is:  What kind of actual spiritual practices can be derived from the Bible that would equal the depth that is being developed at Integral Spiritual Center?  I cannot fathom this.  It is of great concern to me.  Is there a way to richly experience Big Heart?

    I think there are some -- but maybe a bigger question is: how might we interpret or translate the Bible today in integrally valuable ways? Father Thomas Keating has done a lot of work in this arena, opening up the contemplative and transformational dimension of the gospel for us. A wonderful example is Keating's book The Mystery of Christ, which offers a number of valuable contemplative interpretations of passages from the New Testament. Chapters in that book (and others) are available online in the archives section at the Contemplative Outreach website.

    An example of a spiritual practice that has been taken up and elaborated on by Christian mystics and contemplatives is seen in Matthew 6:6 -- "When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will cause you to blossom."

    Teachers of contemplative / meditative methods such as Christian meditation and Centering Prayer often cite this passage, among others, as an injunction for Christians to open up inwardly to Spirit and to enter into a second-person relationship with God that would lead to transformation.

    Peace,

    Mary

     


    Let the beauty we love be what we do.
    There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

    ~Rumi
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  •  08-27-2006, 6:35 PM 5614 in reply to 2505

    • Leslie711 is not online. Last active: 08-27-2008, 3:34 AM Leslie711
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    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

    Thank you for the poem by Joan Chittister Mary.  I have great respect for her since she was a teacher of mine in grad school.  She was one of the first of many who rocked my world and shifted my entire perspective in spirituality, contemplation and social action. 

    This week, I begin the fall session of progressive women's groups that I facilitate.  We often read Joan Chittister to engender an awareness of the cost of omitting the voices of women not only in the exegesis of sacred texts, but also in articulating a feminine experience of Spirit.   This week, I planned to begin with a Breathprayer and then follow with a reflection. I have been reviewing books and jotting notes in order to develop a good opening reflection when I  found your post.  I believe I have found the right reflection to begin this next session as we read "Dance of the Dissident Daughter" this session.  Thank you!

    I'm also inspired whenever I read of women choosing ordination.  How we need these courageous souls to move Catholicism into integral.  I wanted to be a priest and still often wonder, "What if?....." 

    Thanks again for your post,  Leslie

    Leslie


    Integral Woman
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  •  08-30-2006, 7:09 PM 6075 in reply to 5614

    • maryw is not online. Last active: 09-04-2008, 12:45 PM maryw
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    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

    Leslie711:
    We often read Joan Chittister to engender an awareness of the cost of omitting the voices of women not only in the exegesis of sacred texts, but also in articulating a feminine experience of Spirit. 

    Leslie! How scathingly cool to have had Sister Joan as a teacher in grad school! Wow.

    For me, her writings served as one among many nudgings from Spirit that church was not always such a god-awful place to look for guidance and community ...

    I appreciate that rebel catholic creed that was adapted from her version, but -- for brevity's sake I suppose -- it does leave out a lot. I don't want to post the whole thing (because it is pretty long), but here are some sections that were not included. It's from her book In Search of Belief

    …I believe in the Christ

    who is One in being with the Creator

    and who shows us the presence of God

    in everything that is

    and calls out the sacred in ourselves.

     

    I believe in Jesus, the Christ,

    who leads us to the fullness

                of  human stature,

    to what we were meant to become

    before all time

    and for all other things that were made…

     

    By the power of the Holy Spirit

    he was born of the woman Mary,

    pure in soul

    and single-hearted—

    a sign to the ages

    of the exalted place

    of womankind

    in the divine plan

    of human salvation.

     

    He grew as we grow

    through all the stages of life.

    he lived as we live …

    he showed us the Way,

    lived it for us,

    suffered from it,

    and died because of it

    so that we might live

    with new heart,

    new mind,

    and new strength

    despite all the death

    to which we are daily subjected…

     

    For our sake…

    he was hounded

    harassed

    and executed

    by those

    who were their own gods

    and who valued the sacred

    in no other…

     

    He died

    but did not die

    because he lives in us

    still.

     

    “On the third day” in the tomb

    he rose again

    in those he left behind

    and in each of us as well

    to live in hearts

    that will not succumb

    to the enemies of life …

     

    The spirit has spoken

    to the human heart

    through the prophets

    and gives new meaning

    to the Word

    throughout time …

     

    I look for life eternal

    in ways I cannot dream

    and trust

    that creation goes on creating

    in this world

    and in us

    forever.

     

    Amen.

     

    I wanted to be a priest and still often wonder, "What if?....." 

     

    Who knows what dreams may come? Smile [:)]

     

    BTW, Jane Via, the woman recently ordained as a priest (who is also married with children, thus challenging other elements of Catholic doctrine) has officially been placed under "interdiction" by the local bishop. Interdiction is a kind of  "cease and desist" order, an announcement that she is not to engage in ministerial acts at Eucharistic celebrations -- and is often the first step toward excommunication. What's quite ironic is that Jane has actually been a part of many local priests' ordination process -- as a professor of theology at a Catholic college!

     

    Blessings to you as you begin your fall progressive women's groups sessions,

     

    Mary

     


    Let the beauty we love be what we do.
    There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

    ~Rumi
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  •  08-31-2006, 8:17 AM 6138 in reply to 6075

    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

    woman a priest? i so was in the year oh circa 1060 - sum such - in egypt , according to the 'quija' fonetic SP???! board. not only that i was born into a 'family of priests'.

    yah, those were them days of experiments and things like that.

    and on a different note:: i have no idea if i actually heard the Holy Father's (polish pope speak-voice , (this am's unionmystico) voice or not,  with gratitude - feeling communicating  "for this word" , or not..tho sure sounded like it...regardless, i'm compelled to scribble something Bishop Edir Macedo wrote ::

    When you make this collaboration with Him, you don't have anything to give, but God has everything and freely offers it to you. All that He wants to do is live inside you, manifest His wonders to the world so that others can also know Him.

    h

     

     

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  •  10-02-2006, 6:07 PM 10078 in reply to 2505

    • Leslie711 is not online. Last active: 08-27-2008, 3:34 AM Leslie711
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    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

    Mary:

    You made my day--this prayer is perfect for the women's group I am facilitating tomorrow and only makes me think more about my call to ordination.  Leslie


    Integral Woman
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  •  10-03-2006, 8:28 AM 10113 in reply to 10078

    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

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  •  10-04-2006, 7:22 AM 10207 in reply to 10113

    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

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  •  10-05-2006, 7:03 AM 10279 in reply to 10207

    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

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  •  10-10-2006, 9:02 PM 10825 in reply to 6075

    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

    maryw:
    BTW, Jane Via, the woman recently ordained as a priest (who is also married with children, thus challenging other elements of Catholic doctrine) has officially been placed under "interdiction" by the local bishop. Interdiction is a kind of  "cease and desist" order, an announcement that she is not to engage in ministerial acts at Eucharistic celebrations -- and is often the first step toward excommunication. What's quite ironic is that Jane has actually been a part of many local priests' ordination process -- as a professor of theology at a Catholic college!


    I think we should point out that Jane Via was illicitly ordained as a priest. I also think we should point out that this was done by women *bishops*. (Of which, the Catholic Church has exactly ZERO women bishops).

    In short, she is NOT a priest in the Catholic Church. She may call herself Catholic, and may consider herself a priest, but Catholics that disavow the canon and the Pope are not Catholic, but protestant, regardless of what they call themselves.

    Since Jane was born Catholic, she has been placed under interdiction, but not because she's part of the holy order, but because she is a Catholic that is acting improperly.

    She's not a priest, she has not been ordained with the Church's blessing, and her church is not sanctioned, endorsed, or otherwise acknowledged by the Catholic church.

    -V
    In a black and white picture....there's a lot of grey junk
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  •  10-10-2006, 9:58 PM 10828 in reply to 10825

    • maryw is not online. Last active: 09-04-2008, 12:45 PM maryw
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    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

    Vortex:
    I think we should point out that Jane Via was illicitly ordained as a priest. I also think we should point out that this was done by women *bishops*. (Of which, the Catholic Church has exactly ZERO women bishops).

    In short, she is NOT a priest in the Catholic Church. She may call herself Catholic, and may consider herself a priest, but Catholics that disavow the canon and the Pope are not Catholic, but protestant, regardless of what they call themselves.

    Since Jane was born Catholic, she has been placed under interdiction, but not because she's part of the holy order, but because she is a Catholic that is acting improperly.

    She's not a priest, she has not been ordained with the Church's blessing, and her church is not sanctioned, endorsed, or otherwise acknowledged by the Catholic church.

    It's true that the formal institutional Roman Catholic church does not consider Via (who, by the way, was not actually born Catholic ...) a priest. But I, and others, would argue that the "Catholic Church" is not necessarily limited to the hierarchy's definition of it. And this is an argument that is going on both inside and outside of the official Roman church. (There are several independent Catholic churches that have broken away from Rome, but who still retain "Catholic" to emphasize their universalist approach, such as the Old Catholic Church in England and the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America.)

    What you are saying is definitely true from the institutional view. But the view of the people in the pews -- the church as a body of a wide variety of believers -- is often at odds with the church as institution. Especially in post-Vatican II America. Orange and green believers often think of the people, layfolks as well as hierarchy, as the church, the body of Christ... and as a dysfunctional (but, dernit, lovable) family with a lot of internal bickering and disagreements and skeletons in the closet ...

    I believe it was sagemichael who made this analogy in another thread: one might identify as a Catholic even if he is at odds with how the institution defines Catholic in the same way that one might identify as American even if he is at odds with how its leaders and representatives might define an American. And he might still feel he is an American even if he disagrees with U.S. government leaders and U.S. government policies -- and a good portion of the U.S. population.

    Mary

    p.s. after edit: To clarify your statement: "I think we should also point out that this [ordination] was done by women *bishops.*"  -- These women bishops themselves had been ordained by male Roman Catholic bishops in full apostolic succession--although of course many consider them to be "renegade" male bishops. But it wasn't like the women bishops just up and ordained themselves ...

    For more info, check out these links: http://godtalktv.org and http://www.womensordination.org.


     


    Let the beauty we love be what we do.
    There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

    ~Rumi
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  •  10-11-2006, 1:05 AM 10832 in reply to 2326

    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

    1. Is Christianity uncompatible with integral because of the absolutist claims made by Christ? (I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me).

    2. Do integral Christians need to accept that Jesus DID NOT in fact rise from the dead physically.


    Wording the questions this way is going to generate some pretty vague answers, so I'm going to look at it from the other direction.

    Its pretty clear that any religion that makes absolutist claims is not integral, but Integral Christians may or may not believe that Jesus rose from the dead. One general point that I think we can all agree on is that an Integral Christianity would definitely have room for Christians who don't believe in the resurrection, and wouldn't view them less spiritual, inferior, lacking in faith, etc. In other words, it wouldn't hold up biblical literalism as any kind of ideal. It does seem inevitable that an Integral Christianity would be rejected as a false doctrine by the vast majority of conventional Christians.

    3. This begs the question, if Christ DID NOT rise from the dead physically, does that put the validity of the four gospels in question.

    It may, but more importantly, I think applying the AQAL framework automatically puts into question the literal veracity of the gospels, since we are asked to honor a reading of the Bible from a cultural and techno-economic perspective, not just a factual and first-person account, and generally this leads us to view Christianity as we view all religions -- shaped and molded by the culture they arise in.

    4. Does Jesus add anything new to the spiritual scene on the planet earth?

    A related question might be, In an integral world, what role will Christianity play? I personally feel that if there is any kind of mass integral spirituality in the West, it will be Christian in flavor, not Buddhist, and part of the reason is because Christianity is very comfortable to most people. I think this is already happening -- pick up any "dharma lite" book and you will find it shot through with reworkings of Christian theology. The spirituality of Green is, more often than not, some variation on Quakerism. Its easy to look down on Christian spirituality for lacking a sophisticated first-person approach, but let's not forget it has a very rich and accessible second-person devotional practice, and I think this will be what is carried forward in the future.
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  •  10-11-2006, 7:26 AM 10839 in reply to 10832

    Re: Is Integral Christianity Still Christian: Part II

    Hi everyone,

    I stepped away from the forums for a while and came back to find this lively thread. Great stuff! I attended part of the recent contempative Christian seminar and I came away from it feeling pretty distressed rather than excited. While the seminar itself was truly wonderful, so well organized and accomodating and full of incredible beings, I still found myself unable to reconcile the heavy amber fortifications of the tradition with the emerging integral wave. I became fairly convinced that, as it is, this will not work. I hope you all can change my mind on this.

    mrteacup:
    3. This begs the question, if Christ DID NOT rise from the dead physically, does that put the validity of the four gospels in question.

    It may, but more importantly, I think applying the AQAL framework automatically puts into question the literal veracity of the gospels, since we are asked to honor a reading of the Bible from a cultural and techno-economic perspective, not just a factual and first-person account, and generally this leads us to view Christianity as we view all religions -- shaped and molded by the culture they arise in.

    Recently a very radical conclusion came to me, after years of muddling through biblical criticism and early Christian history and wrestling with where truth might be in that very unclear soup of data. I decided that the only way I could make sense of the data was to accept that there was never a historical personality called Jesus. I hope that doesn't bring everyone smashing down on me (or, if so, at least be gentle!), but I can't see any other conclusion making sense. By accepting historicity, we're forced to stuggle with difficult issues such as a literal resurrection, various unbelievable miracles, some kind of cosmicly important "incarnation event", and so on, not to mention the gymnastics required to make sense of inconsitencies and errors in the texts. But, if we see every single word of the Bible as myth, doesn't it open up one of the most rich and beautiful sources of deeply spiritual symbolism in existence? When Christ is seen only as "the Christ within every human being", what does that do to our understanding of the gospels? When Christ speaks as the divine voice within, doesn't that totally transform the gospel landscape?

    There's little to no evidence to support the historicity of the gospels, but when seen in the light of myth, where the evangelists were taking the thorougly common "dying and resurrected god-man" mysteries and putting them into their local cultural contexts (complete with seeming history through references to various towns, personages, etc), they really open up. And then, in that same light, we can also see what an absolute travesty has been the mistake of literalism and all that has followed in the history of the mainstream church.

    mrteacup:

    4. Does Jesus add anything new to the spiritual scene on the planet earth?

    A related question might be, In an integral world, what role will Christianity play? I personally feel that if there is any kind of mass integral spirituality in the West, it will be Christian in flavor, not Buddhist, and part of the reason is because Christianity is very comfortable to most people.

    I disagree in the sense that this really remains to be seen. So many have to leave and find wisdom elsewhere. I agree that its a logical conclusion, though. When most people operate in a Christian context, it makes sense that it would inform their spiritual path all the way up. However, Christianity fortifies amber, and its very, very hard to break away from that intense amber magnet of "true belief" and literalism. I see many aspiring post-mythic Christians having a very hard time with nonduality, for example, and being forced to work with strange notions such as "dualistic nonduality" (real quote from an integral group leader in SF!).

    Having been raised Catholic and having had to make my own way out of that amber stickiness, I can't yet see Ken's "conveyor belt" as an option. What are the chances, what with canon law, the Magisterium, doctrines of faith, a rigid catechism, the institutionalization of amber forms and content... what are the chances that Integral can arise in the mainstream church? How much harder for evangelicals and fundamentalists? Even fairly enlightened pastors like Brian McLaren struggle so much with amber-literalist ideas about the afterlife and salvation as they attempt to make room for postmodernism and pluralism.

    So, from my own standpoint, until I see this amber gravity significantly weakening (meaning major leaders in the Churches questioning every single dogma and practice in the light of a higher understanding), until Christians are really able to accept non-exclusivity and non-literal interpretations of their truths and teachings, I can't say I have much hope.

    As for "integral Christianity", I think some big mistakes are being made and especially some by Ken himself. In Integral Spirituality, Ken does a very admirable job being inclusive of both eastern and western traditions. He references Christianity frequently, almost more so than Buddhism. However, the big mistake I see him making is that, in his rush to include Christianity, he is representing certain people and ideas in ways that I don't think many actual Christians would find correct. For example, Ken equates "metanoia" with "satori". I think anyone familiar with both terms would find such a comparison a stretch. The same thing happens when, based on not the slightest shred of evidence, we talk of Jesus as some kind of enlightened "founder" of the Christian tradition, as if he were basically a Western Buddha. There's absolutely no basis for that other than a desire to have our own Buddhism. So if we take these concepts and apply meanings that were never intended before however much good sense they might make, is it really Christianity anymore? (And that takes us back to the title of this thread.)

    Ken often brings up the problem with taking third tier treatises and "translating downward" to a lower center of gravity, a lower developmental stage. I think the same mistake is being made here in reverse, taking mythic treatises and ideas and translating them upwards. I think the spirit of doing this is great. But I also feel like its dangerous to get caught in trying to make amber ideas into something they are not. Taking Jesus, the resurrection, the miracles, the stories, the apostles, the worship of a tribal diety... taking any of that literally feeds the immensely powerful amber electromagnet and will keep any real, whole, healthy "Integral Chrisitanity" from finding its ground and becoming the new magnet that pulls us upwards.

    Ok, I realize these are strong opinions, possibly unpopular ideas, and challenging words... But its from the heart and comes on the heels of struggling with these issues in my own 1st-person space. I offer it all to you guys for whatever its worth!

    Peace,

    Michael

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