Tuesday, January 27, 2009

N. Michigan Set to Elect a "Christian-Buddhist" as Bishop

Over at Stand Rigid, they are reporting that Northern Michigan's only nominee for Diocesan Bishop, the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, has actually received "Buddhist lay ordination." Of course, one can always count on Stand Rigid to add its own knee-jerk reaction to any news story, and Greg Griffith's commentary in this case is no exception. But I thought the following comment left by "A Senior Priest" to be most intriguing. I guess I'll file this away in the "For What It's Worth" folder.

Despite the unfortunate choice of words of the late bishop, I’d reserve judgement on this one (apart from the likelihood that Mr Forrester is a theological revisionist). At present the Roman Catholic Church has several respected priests who are not only clergymen but also hold legitimate ‘inka’ or the status, not of mere lay vows, as Mr Forrester has, but fully ordained Zen Masters (Roshi)! As well, there are several nuns and priests who old the rank of ‘Sensei’, or ‘teacher’, just short of full Inka. And this is with the permission of the hierarchy. No doubt you all remember, as well, that Fr. Bede Griffiths (Benedictine Camaldolese) founded Shantivanam, a RC Ashram in India which is a part of the Benedictine Camaldolese Order. Also, you all remember Pere Henri Le Saux, who became, with the explicit blessing of the Roman hierarchy, a Christian renunciate in the Indian tradition by the name of Abhishiktananda, and who wrote several notable books on the intersection of Christian and Hindu spirituality. While I depore the facile and stomach-churning shallowness of most TEC syncretic ‘interfaith’ rubbish, there is, dear friends, an authentic meeting which monastics of all religions experience, as Thomas Merton pointed out very forcefully in his Asian Journals.