Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Thursday, August 6, 2015

In Theory

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor? -- Luke 10:29

In some ways, Christianity is much like Zen in its teachings.  Jesus doesn’t answer our questions as much as He simply tells us what to do.  I was reading Kierkegaard last night, and he mentions this in relation to Paul’s statement in Romans 13:8 that love is the fulfillment of the law.  If someone asks, “What is love?” the answer is not to feel good about someone but to act righteously.  There is no good intellectual definition of love.  It matters what we do, not what we say. 

Many times the unbeliever is like the lawyer who questioned Jesus in Luke 10.  A question may be a legitimate quest for enlightenment, or, as appears to be the case here and with the Rich Young Ruler, a way to justify avoiding doing good.  We know what the rules are.  We know, most of us, what the law says.  Do it.  See what happens. 

A few months ago, my No. 2 granddaughter asked me for a favorite Bible verse:

When I think about it, this is the great leap forward of science, the experimental method as outlined by Jesus. 

Beware of getting caught up in debates and arguments, questions and doubts.  We are not going to go to heaven because of our works of righteousness we have done.  Yet the person of faith is a practitioner of righteousness.  There is no such thing as a theoretical Christian.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Well said! Jesus also phrased His answers in such a way that those who really thirst for knowledge and wisdom, find the questions they should be asking themselves.
Or, another way to look at it is: Jesus held up a mirror when someone tried to be sneaky or trap Him, or looking for loopholes in the Law.

Christianity does resemble Zen, in many ways, although I believe it goes further than Zen. Still, Zen can be a useful tool under Christianity and God's authority. In the early 90's I read a lot of Thomas Merton, and he explored Zen and incorporated it into Christianity, generally speaking.

The best answers are usually the best questions that inspire us to transcend ourselves with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

mushroom said...

Yes, Merton is one of those guys that recognized it. I think he had an influence on me, too.

John Lien said...

"Do it. See what happens." Good point. After a bit of doing, then go back to books and they start to make more sense. Repeat.

An infinite do loop.