Thursday, March 03, 2005

In Defense of "One Way"...

So, I am working on a new album for the next couple months and one of the band's songs is called "One Way". This is a Biola worship band, so I am sure you can figure what the context for these words is.

I was in the shower yesterday, thinking. The shower is actually a place where I think alot. I should get a white board or a laptop in there methinks. Anyway, I was thinking about that phrase and how incredibly narrow it seems, right? Because most often the phrase is a banner held by conservative religionists (especially of the Christian bent) that want to 'save' the unbelievers. Narrow in the sense that it is their way (or they would say, "It's what the Bible says") or the highway (or as they would say, "hell"). Narrow that in the vast multiplicity of this world that there is one way that is an intellectual ascent to the notion of Jesus as Deity and that is the golden ticket. Hmm.

But then I started thinking about how in the good ole US of A, people really value choice (or at least they think they do). Consumerism drives the desire to have more than one way. So, is this narrow feel because I have been indoctrinated by my American way? Don't many traditions just value 'the way' things have always been? Is that narrow?

So, next scene, I am driving to school, and I pass by a car who's bumper sticker reads, "My religion is simple, My religion is kindness" and I really have to think about that one. Because the way of Jesus was very similar to the way of the Buddha. (Thanks to my new friend Jon for his wonderfully informative website-blog that compares the lotus and the cross.) That is, the way of compassion, the way of peace, the way of love... the religion of kindness.

Now, to some of you, that may sound like a very simplistic, reduced understanding of either Buddha or Jesus. True. They did teach much more beyond that. And for sure there is a great many differences in their lives (although you might be suprised at how similar they are and how similar the history of the religions are). Their understandings of their unique worlds (India and Israel) were very different. But the root of their teaching was common. Kind of like how the root of many church's teachings might be Jesus but their applications are different... yah, I'm thinking like that.

So I guess what I am saying is that at the core, many understandings of how to live out love for all things might be a really healthy thing, being that we live in a very diverse world (and will continue to on several levels even with globalization).

So, in response to my friend Brad's comment about the world eventually moving to one religion, I am not so sure that that is what I am getting at or hoping for. I am not even sure of that understanding of Revelation (but I would be interested in looking at it again). What I am getting at is a multiplicity of understandings of how the sacred and natural work together, work apart, how to find the true nature of our selves/world (image of God, for those Christians who aren't tracking!), and how to help heal and redeem this world... is a good thing.

So perhaps there is "one way"? That was is love? Perhaps it's not too narrow. Or perhaps that is the narrow way that leads to life? A life of selfless love that could be found in a church, in a bar, at a homeless shelter, at home, in a book, in a temple, a mosque, in medititation under a tree? Hmm.

Perhaps you have some thoughts on that?

1 comment:

Brian Aaby said...

Hey Ryan... long time! Have you read "Exlusion and Embrace" by Volf? If no, I think you may enjoy it... Question for you in the midst of your journey and discoveries of world religions... what do you do with the Scriptures when it says, "nobody comes to the Father except through the Son." Believe me this is not a confrontation, a dialogue, I am in a class at Mars Hill Grad School that we are in dialogue of this discussion and much of what you are writing seems consistent with some others in my class. Looking forward to hearing from you.