am uncomfortable with some of the doctrines professed in
organized religion. Is believing certain creeds really
what Christianity is all about?
I see it, being Christian is not primarily about believing
a set of statements to be true. I think that's one of the
distortions introduced into the Christian tradition over
the last 300 years or so because of the conflict between
traditional Christianity and the enlightenment of the 17th
Century. [That conflict] called many traditional Christian
teachings into question and had an unfortunate transforming
effect on the meaning of faith. Faith began to mean believing
difficult things to be true, which puts the emphasis in
the wrong place.
don't think God is concerned primarily about the beliefs
in our heads, but about something much deeper within us.
If one understands the beliefs of the tradition and the
scriptures of the tradition not as what is to be believed,
but as pointers beyond themselves that use the language
of metaphor and poetry and symbol and so forth, then one
can begin to see that the Christian
life is about a relationship to the sacred. Christianity,
like all the religions of the world, is a human construction.
It uses human language, culturally conditioned relative
language, and to absolutize that language is a profound
be Christian, I would say, is to live within the Christian
tradition as a metaphor of the sacred, and also as a sacrament
of the sacred. The tradition as a whole has as one of its
main purposes mediating the reality of the spirit or the
reality of the sacred—that is, entering into a relationship
with the sacred. It's about entering into a relationship
with suchness, with is-ness. I think of God, to use very
abstract language, as is-ness without limits. Our relationship
to is-ness matters profoundly. It will shape our whole
way of being in the world. If we see is-ness as indifferent,
we will be concerned with our own self-protection. If we
see is-ness as threatening, we'll be even more paranoid
about life. But if we see is-ness as giving us life, it
creates the possibility of relating to life in a non-threatened
kind of way. That makes possible the lives of the saints.