I just finished reading a fascinating paper on Coincidentia Oppositorum In Nicholas Of Cusas Sermons by Jasper Hopkins. The closest thing I can compare it to is the philosophy of the Buddhist sage Nagarjuna, with its echoes of Nagarjuna’s teachings on co-dependant origination. Those familiar with Zen or Taoism may get what I mean. And yet, as Hopkins observes, Nicholas of Cusa is no pantheist. God’s transcendance is very much in focus, as is the life and teachings of Jesus, the Messiah. Much to digest here.
I cute variant of the yin yang symbol using cats. It even gets the paws right.
Actually, I have no idea what this image is called, but “Breakfast with Lao Tzu” sounds good to me so I’m going to run with it.
As an Australian Christian I think its important to engage with Asian philosopy and religion, and surely that includes the Taoism of China. Besides, the Tao Te Ching is a fascinating book.
I am particularly drawn to the paradoxes Lao Tzu draws out between weakness and strength, life and death, wisdom and foolishness, which in many ways parallel the teachings of Jesus: “When he is born, man is soft and weak; in death he becomes stiff and hard.”
How is this for an unusual blend of Christian and Taoist symbolism? An ichthus fish containing a yin yang! To me seems more syncretistic than critically contextual, but on a purely aesthetic level I find it kinda appealing.
I have always said Star Wars had a Taoist feel to it. Not just Yoda, but the idea of the Force having a light and dark side. Very yin yang. Obviously I’m not the only one to think so. Those familiar with Star Wars will recognize the symbols for the Empire and the Rebels.
“Heraclitus taught that all changes in the world arise from the dynamic and cyclic interplay of opposites and he saw any pair of opposites as a unity. This unity, which contains and transcends all opposing forces, he called the Logos.”
Fritjof Capra – The Tao of Physics
Those of you interested in engaging with the concept of Chi and the related disciplines of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Martial Arts, Fung Shui and so forth, would be well advised to read Christian Guideposts on Chi: An Evangelical Assessment of Chi and Related Activities by Brett Yardley. Here are a few comments I found worthy of consideration:
It is unfortunate that at this stage some Christians have attempted to dispense with the entire notion of ch’i as wholly incompatible with Christianity simply due to its eastern origins. Yet, this is an overly simplistic type of reasoning, since to belittle and reject all eastern thought solely by pointing out its source is a genetic fallacy. Christians will do well to remember that Judaism and Christianity, despite the unfortunate label of being “Western Religions,” were in fact born in the east amongst eastern people.
In general, Christians can relate to the overall summary of [Traditional Chinese Medicine’s] pragmatic methods of “all things in moderation.” In fact [Traditional Chinese Medicine’s] push to moderate one’s lifestyle, control sexual urges, and caring for one’s body (which Paul refers to as a temple of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 6:18), are in line with a Christian worldview. However, embracing the philosophical awareness and wisdom that [Traditional Chinese Medicine] is supposed to provide for personal wellness should be considered suspect since the Christian’s personal well-being and wisdom should come from their relationship with Christ.
So long as Christians still abstain from the divination practices of Feng Shui, taking this definition would free users to see Feng Shui as nothing more than an aesthetic art form
No, detachment is not enough; we must go on to attachment. The detachment from the confusion all around us is in order to have a richer attachment to God. Christian meditation leads us to inner wholeness necessary to give ourselves to God freely.
As a result, the “soft” side of martial arts dealing with inner development often includes harmony with and controlling ch’i, as opposed to the “hard” side including physical conditioning and strikes.
As previously mentioned, the use and definition of ch’i neither fits any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, nor acts in way that would serve the ministries of the church.
According to the Japanese Catholic Theologian Yohji Inoue, the foundation of Western thinking is “substance” (object) while Japanese thinking is “the field which envelopes substances.”
If you are interested in learning about Taoism I highly recommend “Foundations of Taoist Practice” by Jampa Mackenzie Stewart as an introductory article. It explains such concepts as: the Way (Tao), nothingness (Wu Ji), primordial energy (Qi), Yin And Yang, the Five Elements (Wu Hsing), the Eight Trigrams (Pa Kua), Martial Arts, Sexual Practice, Feng Shui and more.
This is just a brief note to bookmark all the other things that have been going on in the life of Matt Stone over last two weeks. With all this soul searching (see previous post) I haven’t been jotting anything down. So before I forget to write anything, here is a brief synopsis.
Had lunch with Paul Teusner on Saturday 14th October who was up in Sydney to interview myself and a number of my blogging buddies as part of a PhD research project on emerging church bloggers in Australia.
Organised a Thin Places gathering last Saturday 21st October where we heard from Simeon Payne and Phil Johnson on their visit to the Christ Temple, Tao Fong Shan, in Hong Kong in conjunction with the resent Lausanne Gathering. The gathering was well attended, there were some new faces and we went way overtime. Surprise, surprise. Simeon also brought me back a Chinese illustrated gospel which, as you might gather from my icon collection, was a much appreciated gift. Has gone straight to pride of place on the bookshelf.
Converse is on tonight where we’ll be hearing from an Emerging Church in Laylor Park.
And on Wednesday I will be attending a Jospeh Campell study group with some Pagan friends with whom I share a love for mythology. This could prove to be a very interesting night.
Friday night is the first evening back for Anything Goes.
Do not be over righteous…
Do not be over wicked…
The man who fears God
Will avoid all extremes.