Sep 14, 2009


"Arising from a sense that there is a lack of completeness within the established traditions, intersprituality embraces individuals who seek to live more than one tradition, authentically and simultaneously.
    Please note that I am not talking about syncretism here, which is based on the idea that all traditions are the same, and that it does not matter what you choose.  Syncretism blurs the differences between, and dishonors the uniqueness of, traditions, and therefore it impairs the unique challenges for the growth that the emphasis of each tradition offers us."--Russill Paul, Jesus in the Lotus: The Mystical Doorway between Christianity and Yogic Spirituality.

Found this wonderful quote and picture at EmmausWalk Now


colkoch said...

Jayden, this is an important post. Sharing spiritual practices and ritual is not syncretism. It is a sharing and gifting of techniques from one spiritual system to another and it honors and respects all systems.

I have been gifted with a peace pipe in the Assiniboine tradition and it is incredible to think how that honors my own spiritual path of Catholicism. Fr. DeSmet, who evangelized North American plains indians was also gifted with a pipe from the Souix tradition and like me, he used his as a prayer focus.

I just finished reading the book "The Witches Of Abiquu", which is about what happened in the mid sixteen hundreds when one Spanish Franciscan priest went head to head with the local shamanic traditions. Talk about a clash of separate world views. The Franciscan could not understand a world view which was not divided along rigid black and white lines of Good and Evil. His multiple exorcisms did very little.

There is one documented story where the 'devil' he was trying to exorcise from one woman lectured the priest about why the Franciscans were failing to evangelize the Natives, what they needed to change, and why it was important they do so. The entire lecture was given in flawless Latin. This threw the Inquisition into brain lock because by their definition this couldn't be a possession because the devil was not in the business of telling clergy how to put the devil out of business.

After a ten year battle, both the Inquisition and the Spanish authorities admitted they didn't know what in the world was going on and told the Franciscans to let things alone and let the Natives blend what they could of Catholicism with their own traditions. It then became perfectly fine for Spanish Catholics to seek the help of Native medicine people--something which previously could have landed them in front of the Inquisition and led to a death sentence.

Abiquu is twelve miles away from where I live and it's still a unique blend of Catholicism and Native American spirituality and it's powerful.

Oh too think what good could happen if a certain religious tradition would allow more of their Thomas Merton's to rub shoulders with the Thomas Merton's of other traditions.

Jayden Cameron said...

wonderful comment, Colleen! The anecdote about the spirit medium scolding the Franciscans in flawless Latin is priceless. Talk about brain warp! Too funny and wonderful, especially since someone seemed to view the issue with sane common sense. Thomas Merton, another prophet a hundred years ahead of his times. I often think he was 'taken' at such a relatively young age because his future spiritual evolution would have been too shocking for many conventional Catholics. That he was 'zapped' by a defective fan in Bangkok, where I lived for twenty years, has always seemed symbolic and appropriate.