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East Vs West: Are Catholics or Orthodox best suited 4 witnessing 2 Eastern Religion?

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Gxg (G²), Nov 3, 2010.

  1. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Shalom!!



    Concerning why I was writing this, its been heavy on my heart for awhile to see the trends in culture/ where the church stands.....and to me, its odd to see how much focus has been brought up in regards to Eastern Thought in our current times...placing them out there for entertainment.

    Many shows come to mind, one of which is entitled "Avatar: The Last Airbender". A movie was made recently, based off the T.V show that's very based in Mystical thought. One of the groups discussed in the show are known as the Air Nomads, a monastic order of men and women practicing Airbending -- the mystical art of aerokinesis. They were pacifists and highly respected nature and creation....as well as ones into practices of deep spirituality (i.e meditation, restraint, etc). Many hints suggest that the Air Nomads are based on Chinese Shaolin monks and Tibetan culture due to their peaceful nature, monk-ruled society, and geographical isolation due to elevation.






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    With the Air Nomads from the T.V Show "Avatar", as well as many other groups in the show, I've noticed an exceptionally large amount of youths (including Young adults) ---both in the world and the church---that seem to give much focus on the subject of Monasticism/Mysticism in other religions ...assuming that the Church isn't as mysterious/captivating on the issue...and yet, sad to see how others are often unaware of how much the subject took center stage in the Church when it came to the issue of Monasticism/Mysticism of others in the Early Church.




    A Good article for review:



    On the issue, I'm not certain if it could be said that the church has nothing to offer those who are going to Eastern Religions. I'm constantly reminded of others such as the Desert Fathers... the desert monks of Egypt, Syria, and Palestine in the fourth to sixth century. Seeing how they sought to live their lives in a fasted lifestyle and continual holiness with prayer/self-inspection and other practices common in monasticism/mysticism, it was beautiful to behold...and something I wish was discussed more.





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    And of course, there's always the dynamic of those who were Christian Mystics in the early church.


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    Of course, there can be a danger in studying from the past as it concerns the East/Mysticism. And the only reason I bring this up is because it seems that there's often a lack of caution when it comes to studying the saints/much of Eastern Christianity/the early church. For as it seems in many places, the presence of Eastern religious movements in the West, especially in the past decade or two, has really been influential in much of the church..and for others who either study the saints incorrectly or fail to be aware of them/their practices, many have consequently chosen to either proclaim the equality of Christian religious experiences and the experience of Zen Buddhism/ other pagan religions as equal if seeing the ways Eastern Christianity is mystical...or they choose to dismiss Eastern Christianity altogether when seeing similarities in things discussed there with other Eastern Religions. This has often been the case in many PROTESTANT Camps that exalt intellectualism and rationalism above mystery.


    Nevertheless, much of Catholic history--as it concerns Mysticism--could be what those in Eastern Thought could find valuable if/when it came to what it is they thought could only be found within Eastern Religions. Of course, I must be careful to clarify/qualify where I'm coming from. For when considering the 5 Eastern Catholic Churches, there's the reality that even in the Catholic circles there's not a "one size fits all" since within the theological framework of Catholicism, there're battles going on..as the Melkite Greek Catholic Church/Eastern Catholics is radically different from Roman Catholicism in their ideologies when it comes to practices such as married clergy, the election of bishops by the Church as a whole, collegial government and many other features that're unknown to Roman Catholics.

    Moving on, within this thread subject, the history of Eastern Catholic Monasticism / monasticism in the Christian East is something that comes to mind. And of course, some of the commonality between the Eastern Christianities and Western Christianities (as it concerns Catholicism) is universal in its appeal, seeing how many have been steadily going toward the Ancient Faith.



    On others that've noted the same... as it concerns reference material:




    • Panentheism &#8211; Perichoresis &#8211; Christology: Participatory Divinity << Zoecarnate

    Other camps, of course, feel they're more qualified to reach out to the Eastern Religious than others....and in example, I'm remidned of what another individual in Eastern Orthodoxy noted when claiming only Eastern Orthodoxy had what was necessary to reach those in Eastern Religions. As said in their article entitled MYSTAGOGY: Can Orthodox Christianity Speak To Eastern Religions? (for brief excerpt)




    I recently had a conversation with a dear Eastern Orthodox priest, whose twenty six year old son had left home the day before to live indefinitely at a Buddhist monastery. He was heart broken. His son was not a stranger to Eastern Orthodoxy or to its monastic tradition, having even spent two months on the holy mountain of Mt. Athos.


    His son's journey is not an isolated event. Eastern religious traditions are a growing and competing force in American religious life. Buddhism is now the fourth-largest religious group in the United States, with 2.5 - 3 million adherents, approximately 800,000 of whom are American western "converts"? There are actually more Buddhists in America today than Eastern Orthodox Christians! The Dalai Lama (the leader of one of the Tibetan Buddhist sects) is one of the most recognized and admired people in the world and far better recognized than any Eastern Orthodox hierarch? Have you looked in the magazine section of Borders or Barnes and Noble lately? There are more publications with names like "Shambala Sun", "Buddhadharma", and "What is enlightenment?" on the shelves than Christian publications!


    In addition to losing seekers to eastern spiritual traditions (many of them youth), eastern metaphysics has also seeped into our western cultural worldview without much notice. They are doing a better job (sadly) "evangelizing" our culture than we Eastern Orthodox Christians are!


    The Lord Himself commands us clearly "that repentance and remission of sins (baptism) should be preached in His name to all nations" (Luke 24:47). Buddhists (of which there are many sects) and Hindus live among us in America in ever-growing numbers, in our college classrooms, on our soccer fields, and in our "health foods" stores - they are right in our own backyards! They are a rich, potential "mission field" for the Eastern Orthodox Church in the United States. Unfortunately with few exceptions, like the writings of Monk Damascene [Christensen] and Kyriakos S. Markides, we are not talking to this group at all.


    As a former Hindu and disciple of a well-known guru, or spiritual teacher, I can tell you Orthodox Christianity shares more "common ground" with seekers of non-Christian spiritual traditions of the east than any other Christian confession! The truth is when Evangelical Protestants attempt to evangelize the eastern seeker they often do more harm than good, because their approach is western, rational, and doctrinal, with (generally) little understanding of the paradigms and spiritual language (or yearnings) of the seekers of these eastern faiths.


    There are three "fundamental principles" that Buddhists and Hindus generally share in common:

    1. A common "supra-natural" reality underlies and pervades the phenomenal world. This Supreme Reality isn't Personal, but Trans-personal. God or Ultimate Reality in these traditions is ultimately a pure consciousness without attributes.


    2. The human soul is of the same essence with this divine reality. All human nature is divine at its core. Accordingly, Christ or Buddha isn't a savior, but becomes a paradigm of self-realization, the goal of all individuals.




    3. Existence is in fundamental unity (monism). Creation isn't what it appears to the naked eye. It is in essence "illusion" and "unreal". There is one underlying ground of being (think "quantum field" in physics!) which unifies all beings and out of which and into which everything can be reduced.
    What do these metaphysics have in common with our Eastern Orthodox Faith? Not much, on the surface. But in the eastern non-Christian spiritual traditions, knowledge is not primarily about the development of metaphysical doctrine or theology.


    On a side note, there've been similar sentiments shared elsewhere by other Orthodox believers, to the point of claiming that those who are Eastern Catholics cannot do as good of a job as Eastern Orthodox. And for more info:



    But outside of that, Does anyone here disagree with the excerpt from the article..or are there aspects that you agree with? Do you feel that there're aspects within Catholicism and Mysticism in the Church that could serve as a means of creating bridges for those seeking deeper experiences for those attracted in Eastern Religious thought?


    If anyone has any thoughts, I'd love to hear sometime. Shalom
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
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  2. Davidnic

    Davidnic Well-Known Member Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    When I have time (need to feed the daughter) I will comment. I have a good family friend who was a missionary to Japan for 30 years. So I have some thoughts.
     
  3. St. Columcille

    St. Columcille Newbie

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    I believe the term for evangelization that the East and West both incorporate is called "inculturation." Inculturation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I think that the Church has a higher success rate due to it. However there is also the use of icons to tell the Gospel story, and the images themselves are a lot easier to recognize than bad translations when you first come into contact with a culture. This is different from a lot of evangelical principles of some Protestant type missions where there is some need to "Americanize" the tribe or attempt to "modernize" them, even to the point where the dress code has to mimic the missionaries and attempt to teach a sort of propriety as opposed to genuine morality. There are a lot of other things which the Catholic Church does, as well as the Eastern Orthodox, which increases the harvest of souls. In the Eastern Orthodox, I'd say that St. Nikolas of Japan is a greater missionary than St. Francis Xavier; I'd say that St. Herman of Alaska was a greater missionary also, but these types of comparisons are actually apples and oranges. I do not think St. Herman had much success in India, so it is a matter of seeing all of them as part of the body of Christ each contributing to the body in different ways in obediance to Christ.
     
  4. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Inculturation is a good definition....and amazing seeing its affects. With the example of the Chineese Rites controversy, its intriguing to see how it was handled. It seemed no more controverisal (IMHO) than it'd be with Christians serving in the Roman Army during Biblical Times/"giving to Caesar what's Caesar"..or reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance".. Perhaps I'm off on that....




    But indeed, the concept of Inculturation is indeed something that has much to offer in way of beneficial action. Within the NT, this is something that seems to occur frequently. For the Bible makes clear that all men see evidence of God in nature or in their own hearts (Romans 1:17 /Psalm 19:1-2, Acts 14:15-17, Ecclesiastes 3:11, etc )....and there's the reality of COMMON TRUTH & GRACE that the Lord gives to all other religions.

    A good example of this is found in /Acts 17:3 ., where Paul identifies the altar "to an unknown god" as a groping after God, and says, "What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you" (vs. 23). Paul goes on to cite several Greek poets as pointers to the truth found in the gospel. Of course, Paul never suggested that the religious perspectives he found in Athens were sufficient to bring about the true and complete knowledge of God. They are pointers to the truth, not the truth itself. Their value for Paul lies in their capacity to point people to the gospel of Christ. Yet in this capacity, they have real value. Paul's sermon illustrates a broad theme found throughout Scripture. Melchizedek and Jethro, the father of Moses, stand outside the covenant community and yet are channels through whom God instructs his people. Much of the wisdom in Proverbs 22:17 to 24:34 bears close affinities to Egyptian wisdom documented from other sources. Isaiah declares that Cyrus of Persia is God's anointed who has been raised up to do God's will (Isa. 45:1).

    The same understanding has repeated itself frequently in the history of the church. Many of our cherished Christian practices were originally borrowed and adapted from non-Christian religions. Christmas trees find their origin in northern European pagan practice. Even the date of Christmas coincides closely with a pagan Roman festival devoted to the sun god. Rather than denying any truth or value in such practices, the church saw them as early pointers to the gospel and incorporated them under the banner of the lordship of Christ, always making sure that they pointed clearly to Christ. Christians don't deny that there is truth or value in other religions or that God works through other cultures. Rather, Christian faith simply declares that all religions (including the Christian church in a continual way) must respond to what God has done, in sending his Son into the world and in calling all to respond in faith to him





    With Inculturation, it seems to have extended beyond the example of Paul. One example to consider would be Esther in Persia/all she had to do when it came to adapting to Persian culture as a Jewish believer...........and the same thing with others prior to her like Joseph. For in the case of Joseph, he married an Egyptian Wife---one who was a Daughter of an EGYPTIAN priest, at that ( Genesis 41:44-46 / ) Often in Jewish culture--if you inter-married with others who were "pagan", you were no longer considered "Jewish" enough. And as Gen. 41:14 makes clear Joseph shaved before standing in Pharaoh&#8217;s presence, there seems to be a huge lesson of interculturation since a beard was highly regarded in Israel ( 2 Samuel 10:3-5 / /Leviticus 19:26-28/ /Leviticus 21:4-6 ) but not in Egyptian Culture. Indeed, this is the reality of cultural concession..for Joseph revealed wisdom by adapting to the culture of his day, yet in a way that did not violate any biblical principle.



    The same's often seen in other examples many never deal with---such as with Namam&#8217;s situation and how he was required to hold the arm of his master while his master bowed to a pagan idol, even though the Word seems to indicate that he apparently became a believer in the Lord at one point&#8230;II Kings 5:1-27 and praised by Christ in Luke 4:26-28

    The same's also seen in the life of individuals like Nehemiah being a cupbearer to a pagan king or Daniel having to study/be immersed in all of the knowledge/magic arts of the Babylonians&#8230;Nehemiah 1:1-11 and Daniel 1:1-20&#8230;

    With Daniel, we find the prophet and his three Hebrew friends taken captive to Babylon. We know these men best in terms of what they refused to do. All refused to partake of the king&#8217;s choice food / wine (Dan. 1:8-16), which seemed to be associated with idolatrous worship. (In this case, it would be consistent with the prohibitions of Acts 15:20, 29.) Daniel refused to cease praying (Dan. 6), & his three friends wouldn't bow to the golden image (Dan. 3).

    In focusing our attention on what these four men refused to do we sometimes fail to take note of the cultural concession they were willing make. They were submissive to the king&#8217;s requirements by becoming educated in the schools of Babylon for three years, and of serving the king as advisors. These men had the God-given wisdom to discern between what was culturally acceptable and what was not. They were able to faithfully serve God and to be witnesses to Him, even in a pagan land, because they could discern the elements of that culture which were an offense to God---and they also sought to not be an offense unless necessary.











    For modern day examples, there are some good sites/resources on the issue that one can investigate. I've written more elsewhere when it came to Jewish believers/Christians in Eastern countries---as seen here in #1. For more info, one can investigate the following:




    Indeed. I'm reminded of how the Gospel was contexualized in other cultures of Asia such as in Chineese culture. There was a book I was able to come across a couple years ago about the first Christian missionaries to China (in the 6th century, I think) - for they were Nestorian Christians from the Middle East. It was really cool to see how they "contextualized" the gospel into terms and images that resonated with the local Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucian cultures. ..


    A book I was informed of awhile ago is entitled "The Jesus Sutras" by Martin Palmer.



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    It is an historical account of the first Christian mission to China (led by the monk Alouben) in 635, a piecing together of various strands of evidence: a long-lost Christian monastery now used as a Buddhist temple (with Christian statues in the eighth-century pagoda), a sutra (holy writing) of stone in a stone library, and &#8220;The Jesus Sutras,&#8221; a collection of scrolls found hidden in a secret library that was sealed around 1005.

    From these fragments, the author pieces together a framework for what these early Christians believed, how they acted and interacted with the myriad of cultures and religions around them. The result is a fascinating depiction of a Christianity that is adaptive, hospitable, and relevant.


    These early Chinese Christians drew upon imagery from their understanding of the Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Jainism and Shamanism of Tang Dynasty China, which allowed them to present a radical image of Christ as the Dharma King, sending &#8220;your raft of salvation to save us from the burning streams&#8221; - even saving us from karma and reincarnation.

    Here's one of the sutras:
    Beyond knowing, beyond words
    You are the truth, steadfast for all time.
    Compassionate Father, Radiant Son,
    Pure Wind King - three in one&#8230;
    Supreme King, Will of Ages,
    Compassionate Joyous Lamb
    Loving all who suffer
    Fearless as You strive for us
    Free us of the karma of our lives,
    Bring us back to our original nature
    Delivered from all danger.
    Sutra of Praise to the Three Powers, A.D. ca. 780-790







    Others have noted the same kind of dynamic. In example, "Ancient Faith Radio" did a series on the issue of how in some cultures, it seems that they were already being prepared for the presentation of the Gospel...with it being established that GOD was at work in all cultures and therefore it need not be the case that all aspects of a culture must change in order for the Gospel to be understood properly.



    The radio brodcast was on a book entitled "Christ the Eternal Tao"...and one can go here for some reviews



    As it stands, it was interesting to see from an Eastern perspective how the Tao Te Ching is presented as an imperfect, incomplete foreshadowing of what would later be revealed by Christ.



    Good points...and I agree, as too often is it the case that conformity to the culture preaching is what's considered to be "evangelization" rather than allowing the Gospel to take root where you're at. Its similar to the analogy of taking a plant in a pot/transplanting it as opposed to taking the plant/placing it in whatever soil you're at so it can adapt to its environment.

    On a side note, some of what you noted can be seen in things such as witnessing to those in Indigenious cultures....As it concerns those who are involved in American-Indian cultures and Naitive Spirituality. (often similar in thought with much of Eastern Religion). Richard Twiss of Wiconi International is one of the greatest advocates/minds out there when it comes to contexualization of the Gospel and Biblical Discipleship amongst Indigineous peoples in America rather than making them feel as if they have to cease being "Indian" to see Jesus. ....just as it'd be wrong for Indians to do so in reverse. He spoke more on it in . Conquering England


    For more information, one can consider:






     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2010
  5. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Curious as to why you consider the ones you noted to be greater in any way than what you've seen in Catholic circles..and, for that matter, why it is that you think its a matter of apples and oranges.

    Indeed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2010
  6. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Would love to hear anytime when you have the chance:)
     
  7. St. Columcille

    St. Columcille Newbie

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    Well, St. Nicholas of Japan actually lived in Japan during the Russo-Japanese war. He was almost killed, but was able to approach the samurai who was intent on killing him and actually was allowed to live and continue as the bishop to the Japanese Orthodox. He was pretty much forced to learn all about the Japanese ethos, reading the buddhist literature and the culture. St. Francis Xavier on the other hand was long before him, and traveled throughout Asia. I consider the Saint Nicholas greater than St. Francis Xavier in the terms of investing their life work to one culture rather to many. Both are outstanding saints, each a part of the body and important; but I do not think St. Francis Xavier studied Shin Buddhism and the culture with as much depth as St. Nicholas of Japan. St. Francis Xavier is an outstanding missionary and intelligent and gifted. Perhaps he was foundational for St. Nicholas of Japan in terms of the success of his work.

    St. Herman of Alaska was sent at the request of the Russian homeland to convert the eskimos, but he turned on the Russian homeland because of their exploiting the eskimos. I am sure there are many Catholic missionaries to the Native Americans that had the same amount of influence and love, so I cannot say St. Herman is actually greater or less. I just like the way in which he stuck to one culture and God blessed him with miracles and a strong following of converts to the faith.
     
  8. Rhamiel

    Rhamiel Member of the Round Table

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    I am not a fan of how the Eastern Orthodox describe the Eastern Catholic Churches... it shows EXTREAM lack of charity to fellow christians
     
  9. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    I'd agree, as I've seen this before when it comes to marvelous examples of Eastern Catholic Churches/saints within them that've done outstanding work


    One man on the issue who's well noted as a challenging example to follow is one known as Elias Chacour. He's an Eastern Catholic ..of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, to be more specific.




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    A lifetime proponent of interfaith dialogue and peace among Christians, Muslims, Druze and Jews in the Holy Land, Chacour typifies the respectful diversity and nonviolence he encourages. ..............

    Elias was born in the Christian village of Biram in 1939 and raised there with Muslim and Druze neighbors. In 1951, three years after Israel was founded, young Elias, his family and all the residents of Biramâ and 460 other Palestinian villages were temporarily deported by the new Israeli army. They were promised that they could return in two weeks. When they did, they found the entire village bulldozed, all the homes demolished. Today villagers, many still holding the keys and deeds to their family homesteads, are still embroiled in court battles with Israel to be permitted to return. Growing up with the experience of occupation and seeing the smoldering rage and despair of Palestinians of all religions made Chacour even more resolved to work for peace and tolerance.

    Of course, one remembers how many Arab/Islamic nations heard of what occurred with the Palestinians and expelled all the Jews from their countries...forcing the Jews to return to Israel and increading much of the tension between the Palestinians and the Jews returning. The creation of the modern State of Israel in 1948/many deals made led to a subsequent expulsion and emigration of Jews from the neighboring Arab states---as many saw the treatment of the Palestinians/Arabs and were outraged...leading to their own governments/communities reacting in poor ways.


    Seeing how the Jews have treated other Palestinians /Arabs (even as it relates to saying they're all Muslims) and seeing how the Muslims have often treated Palestinians as "impure/"half-breeds" and other deragatory things ...and seeing how the Muslims often didn't want to aid them when they were being persecuted/kicked out of their land during the formation of Israel (as many Muslims used the situation as a means of finding ways to stage war against the Jews), Elias' mindset has been nothing short of amazing when it comes to how to treat one's neighbors. For 1965 as a young priest he was assigned to a church in Ibillin, Galilee, where, after six years and with the help of the U.S. government, he founded Mar Elias Schools. These unique schools admit Christians, Druze, Muslims, and Jews and started with four faculty members. Now these Christian-run schools have more than 290 faculty members, including Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and over 5,000 children of all faiths.



    For more info, One can go online/look up the man at "Voices for Palestine". One can find out on his book entitled Blood Brothers :



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    For another one of his books one can consider, one can go find his book entitled "We Belong in the Land"---concerning more extensive, historical documentation on the issue of the formation of the Middle East Crisis....




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    It may bless you, concerning more of the backdrop.

    And for more info on the author of "Blood Brothers"..as it relates to his views on Israel/Palestinian Crisis, one can go to the following videos:


    Elias Chacour on Relationships in the Middle East



    Alongside Elias, as it concerns Eastern Catholicism, another kat that I thought was astounding was one by the name of Joseph Raya.



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    He worked very deeply/closely with Elias Chacour in the work for peace in the Middle East----being a very controversial/radical figure in the church, as well as being one who was a very close associate of Dr.Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights era....helping to organize marches/often suffering alongside other blacks... as he was twice beaten badly by the Ku Klux Klan.. Here's a Video clip of Archbishop Raya leading a peaceful protest, 1972-08-14 --and on a side note, his working with Martin Luther King is very significant, seeing that Martin Luther King was HIGHLY ecumenical in his dealings. He worked with Muslims just as much as he worked with Jews...

    Fascinating to see 2 individuals coming from an Eastern Christian Perspective.......




    Outside of that, I'd be curious as to why it is that you feel those in EO show an extreme lack of charity to other fellow Christians--as we may be coming at the issue from differing angles.

    As said before, I'd agree on the issue of mistreatment, as I've seen this before when it comes to marvelous examples of Eastern Catholic Churches/saints within Eastern Churches that've done outstanding work....and its sad to witness, especially as it concerns the issue of our witness for the Lord.


    For others wishing to have more info on Eastern Catholics:



    "Who are Eastern Catholics?" PART 1 with Fr. Maximos of Holy Resurrection Monastery
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  10. Davidnic

    Davidnic Well-Known Member Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    He may mean how the Eastern Orthodox respond at times to those Eastern Catholics in union with Rome. There is much tension at times between them due to how the Uniate Churches, as many EO refer to them, came about. In the past on the boards here there have been uncharitable things said.
     
  11. Imperiuz

    Imperiuz Liberty will prevail

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    Of course Catholicism is best suited to evangelize the East, just as the rest of the universe. Truth conquers falsehood, other falsehood do not. We build our faith upon The Rock, while they choose the sand. It is our Church that the gates of Hell will not prevail, not their "churches".
     
  12. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Indeed, amazing..

    Interesting, as I've always been under the impression that God can make callings to Missionaries that'd have both missions involved where one either stays in one country their entire lives or one goes to many (As it was with others like Paul---who stayed long in many places but went abroad often to other nations to evangelize). Additionally, in many ways, the man had no choice in the matter when it came to his leaving Japan--as he desired to return but was called away ..and then, when Japan locked all Christians out, he could not return.
    On the latter part of what you said, I'd agree...as from what I know, St .Francis Xavier was one of the most influential missionaries in Japan.....converting a significant number of others to Catholicism.


    The man often was in debate with the Buddhist Bonzes of Japan..and I'd like to think that one would need basic understanding of the culture and common ground in order to reach out to those in Shintoism or Shin Buddhism.....as there was some instances of where inculturation occurred. For instance, it seems that Xavier was welcomed by the Shingon monks since he used the word Dainichi for the Christian God, attempting to adapt the concept to local traditions. As Xavier learned more about the religious nuances of the word, he changed to Deusu from the Latin and Portuguese Deus. ...though the monks later realized that Xavier was preaching a rival religion and grew more aggressive towards his attempts at conversion. But the more the Bonzes opposed the teachings of Francis, the greater the number of conversion


    And on the issue, much of his work as well as that of other missionaries was destroyed when Japan decided to exile all other faiths from their culture when they locked themselves off from the outside world. Xavier understood the importance of taking on positive aspects of Japaneese culture when it came to missions, gaining many converts. But due to the government's changing views toward Outsiders and Christianity, many of those same Christians whom he converted and who had children that became Christians were either persecuted or killed---whereas others who may have left Japan for whatever reason were forbidden to return alongside other Japaneese.



    For more info:


    Regardless of if he was greater or less, indeed, the man was truly GREAT:).


    More than understand..
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  13. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Understood, though as it concerns the point of the original post/thread, would you please share why it is that you feel the Catholic Church is qualified to witness to the East more than others? In what ways does the Catholic have a better connection with the East than other groups in the church? How is it unique?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  14. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Concerning that distinction being made clear, its interesting to see what often occurs when it comes to others within Catholic conditions turning to Eastern Religions and realizing that they don't have look outside of their own camps when they already have rich traditions in contemplative and mystical practices. Even with the appeals of Eastern religions as it concerns things like ancestor worship, I'm thankful for the ways in which it seems Catholics have already had something similar which may appeal to those in Eastern thought when it comes to those before us being considered as around to commune with..

    As it stands, it does seem that there's a degree of arrogance on the part of EO if one does not automatically agree with them at all points that the EO is right---and for the Eastern Catholics to do as they do, it could be construed as them being akin to straddling the fence/not choosing a side....or masquerading as something they're not. In many ways, the conflict reminds me of how the Jews treated Samaritans since they viewed Samaritans as "half-breeds"/not "Jewish" enough to accept....and with Eastern Catholics, it can often be seen to others considering themselves perfect that they're flirting with the enemy to be comfortable with Rome


    Still looking forward to seeing the thoughts you have to share when you have time, sir:)
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  15. Davidnic

    Davidnic Well-Known Member Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    I'll probably be sharing them in bits and pieces and late at night. :) Stay at home dad and I work at a library overnight.

    I think one of the great inroads Catholicism has with Japan is how elements of Shinto can lead to am inculturated understanding of the communion of saints and prayer for those who have passed. Of course there are pitfalls there the same one's that the Church has run into with African ancestor worship.

    There is a fine line when using inculturation. Although not the East there is an inculturated form of the liturgy called the Zaire Use in Africa that very competently handles the issues we may encounter in societies with deep religious respect for ancestors.

    So although it is a connection that is helpful it can also be done poorly and in a way that contradicts the theology we have on Saints.

    There is not, to my knowledge, an inculturated far Eastern Liturgy. I will check to see what has been done or proposed on that. I actually have a book downstairs written about my missionary friend. It is from the 70's so is dated a bit but it deals with how he worked in Japan. I will see if my wife knows where it is, or get it when she gets home and take it to work with me. I have time to post more at work.
     
  16. Davidnic

    Davidnic Well-Known Member Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    there is a nun Sister Takako Frances Takagi Ph.D at Notre Dame Seishin University who has done scholarly work on Catholic Inculturation in Japan.
     
  17. Davidnic

    Davidnic Well-Known Member Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    She has an article in the Catholic Historical Review on the topic. I work in a Library (pretty big one) so I will try to get a copy.

    Catholic Historical Review
    1993, April
    pg. 246
    Inculturation and Adaptation in Japan before and after Vatican Council II
     
  18. Davidnic

    Davidnic Well-Known Member Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    Yeah I can get a copy. I will read it and comment on it tonight.
     
  19. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    That's cool, Bruh. Would love to work in a library, by the way....as its a job with good benefits.:)

    Interesting that you bring that up....as when it comes to things such as communion with the saints, it'd seem to be a good middle-groundway of reaching those who already are open to the concept of ancestor worship AND the awareness of the saints still being present with us. In the show "Avatar" (that was referenced earlier), this was something that was often discussed when it came to previous lives/individuals still being available for giving wisdom to the hero in the show. Of course, that concept was connected with the subject of reincarnation





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    With the issue of iconagraphy, where pictures of previous saints that have already gone before us (including those in Hebrews 11/Hebrews 11:11 with the Hall of Faith) are placed up....with direction sought from them....is truly a troublesome view for many.


    For in the view of Eastern Thought, those who've gone ahead of us are not merely elsewhere in the "Great Beyond"--but very much aware of what is happening down below. Kind of like what happens for many when Grandma died and loved ones--whether those who were believers inspired by her example to continue walking godly or those who were not saved and yet were won to the Lord by her actions/chose to dedicate their lives to Christ--- were wondering of the woman who kept the family together in Christ think "I know that Grandma is looking down upon me right now...and I hope she's proud". It's the reality that the saints are with us in spiritual connection:
    Hebrews 12:1
    [ God Disciplines His Sons ] Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
    Hebrews 12


    By no means am I saying, by the way, that it's appropiate for others to act as if they can have conversations with Grandma as with what often happens when a family member dies and they say that they're still in the house and every morning they wake up they still hear that the tea pot's whistling every morning before church just like it was when she was alive/making tea for everyone.

    But For anyone who has studied the book of Hebrews fully, the deceased individuals of Hebrews 11 is something I keep in mind when it comes to identifying who the "witnesses" are that're looking on toward us.


    Personally, what comes to my mind is not only the thought of others whose past lives of faith encourage myself to do the same and have given godly examples to follow/give motivation.....but it is also the thought of actually having a crowd up in Heaven made of heavenly saints cheering me on actively that captivates my mind.


    Being one who was a runner/"track and field" star alongside my brother, the concept tends to hit home for me since all runners will let you know that if there's not a crowd to cheer you on, it's hard to run fully with passion. Knowing that others you're loved by are right there for you is something that helps to get through/not give up.....and surely, if all of heaven with the angels rejoices when others come to the Lord in Luke 15:6-8 / Luke 15, then I'd see nothing wrong/illogical with saying that perhaps those who're already in Christ above are doing the same rather than somewhere else in "chill mode" or singing "praise and worship songs 24/7"....for those above are not simply chilling in the clouds playing harps



    If others still have issue with the concept of the departed still being with us in very much of the same way as it is with ancestor worship, one must bear in mind that it is already an historical fact that the early Christian practice of prayer for the dead was not an odd thing to do. &#8230;with many of the early Church fathers in the 1st through 3rd centuries speaking often on the subject. &#8230;whether it be with Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, Tertullian or many others.

    If such a view was common during the first 3 centuries of the Early Church, its hard to trip on it 100%. Even within Jewish culture, The Maccabees did apparently PRAY for the dead . ..and though others may take issue with it, one must keep in mind the historicity of the book&#8212;especially seeing its description of the Jewish Feast of Hannakah, also refered to as the celebration of the the Feast of Dedication in John 10:21-23/ John 10 .

    For an excerpt from the book on the issue:
    A)nd they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. . (2 Macc 12:42-45 )
    Granted that Maccabbees&#8230;both the 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees ) &#8230;..had one element where they took things to the &#8220;Puragotory&#8221; level&#8211;and Jews do not regard 2 Maccabees as canonical, perhaps because of its theological innovations&#8230;&#8230;but the book is historical&#8230;&#8230;and there are many elements I&#8217;ve been intrigued by when seeing other scriptures.



    There's also the consideration of what the Word says directly:
    1 Corinthians 15:29
    Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?
    1 Corinthians 15:28-30 1 Corinthians 15
    For a good article on the issue, one can check out Onesiphorus and Paul&#8217;s Prayer for the Dead


    And for more info, one poster said it best in #23 when it came to explaining the issue.....as said there:

    God is Good...
    Would be considered as to what examples you have in mind where the connection has been done poorly.

    Would love to see sometime when you're able...:cool:
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  20. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Concerning what you noted with inculturation/inroads into Japan...and by extension, other Asian cultures involved with worship of Ancestors, I wanted to note that there have been similar threads on the issue of discussing the compatibility of differing Eastern Religious practices with Catholicism...as seen in the thread entitled Is Yoga incompatible with Catholicism?. And I know others have shared wonderful thoughts as it concerns understanding Eastern Spirituality. As said before:

     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
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