Modern Christianity: A Flock of Lost Sheep
Christianity today has become a misleading term and a very confusing 'business'. Proclaiming one's faith as 'Christian' no longer identifies the believer in a specific sense - there are more Christian denominations, groups and sub-groups than I would care to mention. Gone is the 'one faith', 'one God' principle that identifies all true religions; today there are 'gelicos, penticos, charismaticos, deicos, bapticos, methicos' and on it goes. The 'religion' is severely fragmented, each splintered faction claiming divine authority and status as the true religion (a perfectly absurd situation).
A single religion fragmented into many splinter groups and sub-groups has obviously lost its way - some would say severe fragmentation is symptomatic of spiritual bankruptcy or at the very least, degeneration and decay.
Harbour no illusions, the Living God of Christianity is dead and discarded, political ideology has displaced theological integrity, a dead book has displaced a Living God. The new 'God' of Christianity is a social/political animal concerned more with political agendas than theological emancipation. The authority of this new 'religion' is text-based, comprising of commentaries, Scripture and the recorded teachings of various men. The obvious flaw in this approach is that all text is liable to interpretation, therefore to arrive at even a semblance of coherence an imposition must occur, that is, theological leaders must insist on a particular interpretation of the texts regardless of other considerations; integrity and Truth become secondary considerations.
The agreed upon or shared interpretation becomes the 'gospel' of the Gospel. A twice-removed 'version' automatically forgoes any claim to exactitude.
Interpretation is the enemy of Truth as Truth is not liable to interpretation it is self-qualifying. Deity (Truth) is lost to those who insist on any interpretation regardless of whether the interpretation is in accord with any 'intended meaning'. A dilemma immediately presents itself to those who insist on textual interpretation as authority. Living religions survive only as long as they continue to focus on a Living Deity who guarantees constant renewal, regeneration and Transformation. A (fixed) text by nature is implicitly dead to the Truth as Truth is another name of Deity and Deities Live! Furthermore, the Creator is the KINESIS that is Life.
Within a context of stationary qualities (fixed interpretations of dead texts) the only discovery/product/result one could possibly find/achieve is Death! The "dead burying the dead", becomes the new religion. Death is that state devoid of ALL qualities and to that destination the rigid religionist careers. Death is also the polar opposite of Life, therefore all fixed interpretations are in opposition to the Living principle or God. [Hence] it has been said that a living blade of grass contains more 'knowledge' than all the books that have ever been or will be printed. Knowledge is contained in the Living aspect/principle not the form, all life is an expression of THE LIFE.
Futile attempts to maintain/impose a worldview always produce violent reactions, conflict, war and fear. History bears monumental testimony of this fact. However, it should be noted that all external conflict is the result of inner personal conflict. Modern Christianity, Islam and Judaism (Abrahamic religions) are perfectly suited to create turmoil, conflict and destruction; the reader will note that they are all religions of the (antiquated) book! All doctrinaire ideologies whether political or theological fall into this violent category.
The reader should also note that the Living principle produces harmony and equilibrium; your very LIFE is a product of universal harmony , trust it and embrace it. You have been created with everything you require for your well being and survival, what need is there for any man-made (violent) imposition? There is no greater tragedy than foregoing your God-given sovereignty.
Now to the issue that prompted the writing of this article:
Local television (SBS) news, Wednesday 26 April, contained a short piece on American 'Christian Yoga'. The world has learnt to expect unadulterated theological and philosophical stupidity from American Christians, and this little news piece did not disappoint.
First, the title, "Christian Yoga", is a contradiction in terms or the unwitting union of two disparate religions; Susan Bordenkircher, the 'Christian' yoga instructor, attempts to appropriate an ancient Hindu tradition to suite her monetary and ideological purposes. I would also mention that authentic Yoga instructors possess credentials in the form of initiation into an existing 'school' or lineage in a Hindu Yoga tradition. A person that rejects the Hindu Yoga tradition is obviously not in possession of any legitimate credentials. But there are many self-styled 'experts' in the land of 'Kentucky fried religion' (America).
There are numerous Yoga traditions in India, however, Bordenkircher is dealing with a popular and lucrative western fad based on Ha'tha Yoga. The root terms of 'ha' 'tha' indicate the sun and moon or the male and female principles as personified by the (Yoga) Deities Siva/Sakti, who, it must be emphasised, are ALWAYS inextricable 'entwined'. Hindu iconography and traditional art depicts these two Deities locked in sexual embrace, permanent coition is symbolically implicit in a Yoga context. Yoga practitioners cultivate these two vital forces knowingly, or in the American (Christian) context unknowingly!
I would also add that Hindus venerate the male and female genitalia of these two Deities. The Sivalingam is an object of worship in ritual Hinduism, a stylised phallus conjoined with stylised vagina becomes an object of ritual worship for millions of religious Hindus. The symbolism of Yoga is not lost in its place of origin.
Yoga (union) is the art/science/method of attaining liberation through the mastery of the male/female currents in the human psychic anatomy. This approach bears no relation to modern Christianity - regardless of the financial needs of some 'Christian yoga teachers'.
I mention the elementary basics of the art/science of Hatha Yoga to expose the extremely limited understanding that some Christians have on the subject of Hindu theology/philosophy.
In her classes, named "Outstretched in Faith", Bordenkircher explains 'her' approach "as a way to share with people something great about their faith" [by unwittingly introducing a foreign philosophy!] However, what they are in fact actually sharing is the arousal of the male/female vital forces in the body, which without proper understanding and direction may lead to various physical sensations the nature of which Christians are reputed to have extreme difficulty with. Failure to understand the dynamics that yoga creates in the psychosomatic mechanism can lead to many odd psychological and physical symptoms. Vital forces in the body should never be tampered with without expert supervision or knowledge. There are many recorded instances of devout Christians experiencing what they interpret to be demonic possession, strange sensations and wild imaginings!
Bordenkircher's facile and limited understanding of yoga is betrayed by her simplistic remarks, "regardless of the philosophy" she likes the "exercise", "as it stretches the muscles and relaxes the body". And I would add releases many forces, which it would appear she is not trained to deal with.
I leave you with two quotes, one from Susan Bordenkircher and the other from a seasoned yoga practitioner.
"There is no way that you can take a posture that is from a body that God created and say this can only be used for the Hindu faith."
"Asana [wrongly translated as posture] is a divine gesture assumed by the body but performed (or pre-formed) by consciousness; this 'gesture' acknowledges the relationship between the personal and infinite in particular characteristic 'form' or expression.
Yoga practice, as a means to achieve full realisation, has been developed and fine-tuned over thousands of years by the Sages and Rishis of India; it is a superb method, notwithstanding its cultural specificity. However, those from other cultural backgrounds are not precluded from deriving benefits. The degree of success achieved would be conditional to the amount of 'cultural baggage' willingly abandoned. Any attempts to merge Western values, mindsets or disciplines with Eastern Yoga would be as unsuccessful as attempting to mix oil with water."
The pathetic attempt to appropriate aspects of any Eastern philosophical tradition is indicative of the spiritual void that is American religion. Adherents of the 'come on down and be saved', quick fix religions of the USA have cause for concern, it is clear that American religion lacks philosophical depth. These realities gain extra emphasis as modern Christianity views itself to be the one true religion and all others to be erroneous and perverse. Wherefore then is the need to appropriate from the living Traditions of Hindu religion and associated Indian philosophies?
What becomes clear is that hypocrisy, theological and philosophical shallowness form the precarious foundation of American Christianity. It was the Christian saviour who stated plainly, that 'you will know them by their fruits'.
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