A sermon preached by the Rev. Beth Maynard
A while ago I listened to a podcast featuring a Christian teacher of prayer named Jim Finley. He’s an expert on the writer Thomas Merton, as well as a psychotherapist, but the thing that was interesting to me about this podcast was that it was put together by a publisher of New Age spirituality books. So what that meant was that a New Age leader was interviewing this Christian contemplative. Finley spoke from his own experience, which was deeply shaped by Jesus -- but did so, I thought, very accessibly and graciously for an inter-religious context.
The interviewer was open and gracious as well, but at one point she asked Finley a question that I found tremendously revealing. He had made some references to a point that clearly was totally foreign to her, and finally she stopped him for an explanation.
What she wanted clarified was the mentions he’d made in his story of weakness and suffering. He had talked more than once about how he had been through times of feeling powerless and surrendering to God. Why did he keep mentioning this? This New Age leader just didn’t grasp how suffering could have anything to do with what she understood spiritual growth to be. ....