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Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Broad Gate

From the Apologia Pro Vita Sua of His Grace Genpo, aka Kevin Thew Forrester, Bishop of the (Episcopal) Diocese of Northern Michigan:
My soul-work entered a new stage on Pentecost, at Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp, when I, as a Christian, received Buddhist “lay ordination” and a new name, to go along with my Christian name: Genpo (Japanese, for “way of universal wisdom”). I now walk the path of Christianity and Zen Buddhism. What on earth would possess me to do something like this?

Zen Buddhism, for me, is about learning how to see the bedrock truth of our baptism – we are beloved. To say this may sound odd, at first. But 2,500 years ago, an Indian prince became known as the Buddha, or the Enlightened One, because he courageously sat and faced his fears, and after years of facing them, saw this basic truth about life: we are one, utterly one, yet we do not know it. We suffer because we fearfully cling to this or that thing (for me, trying to be perfect) in the hope that it will bring us happiness.
Whatever floats Your boat, Your Grace, I am not an Episcopalian anymore and it is no longer my place to express alarm or outrage; just bemusement over how one reconciles this bizarre syncretism (or is it universalism?) with Article VI of the Articles of Religion, found in the Book of Common Prayer (which, I assume, Your Grace is bound to uphold): "Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation."

On the other hand, the Episcopal Church's makeover of the Prayer Book in 1979 relegated the Articles of Religion to a section entitled "Historical Documents," which suggests they should be interpreted as just that: relics of a distant, less enlightened time, to be employed or ignored as one see fit with regard to modern sensibilities.

(Thanks to the MCJ)

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