Book Discussion-"Manifesting God"/"Open Mind,Open Heart"/etc

Discuss arguments for existence of God and faith in general. Any aspect of any orientation toward religion/spirituality, as long as it is based upon a positive open to other people attitude.

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Book Discussion-"Manifesting God"/"Open Mind,Open Heart"/etc

Post by tinythinker » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:23 pm

The book Open Mind, Open Heart was originally published in 1994. I understand it is part of a trilogy of short books, but I gather it is the keystone of the three (which is good for me because the library to which I have access only has that part of the threesome). I read it after reading a much more recent book, Manifesting God (2005), by the same author, Fr. Thomas Keating. You can read my review of this latter book here. And I initially decided to even pick up and peruse this book at the local bookstore because I had read about Fr. Keating's theology and practice in the works of Br. Wayne Teasdale (The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions and A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life).

In reading any or all of these books, or similar works by authors such as Thomas Merton, Thich Nhat Hanh (see this book discussion thread), or even the more academic publications of authors such as Paul Tillich, it appears that while specific beliefs and liturgical practices in many faith traditions are indeed distinct and should not be confused with each other, the living experience of spiritual depth (sometimes referred to as recognizing the vertical dimension of existence as opposed to only the horitizontal dimension) to which these traditions point us is a common reality.

Have you read one or more of the Keating or Teasdale books? If you have and want to discuss them, this thread is for you!
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Re: Book Discussion-"Manifesting God"/"Open Mind,Open Heart"/etc

Post by tinythinker » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:45 pm

By the way, I finished reading Open Mind, Open Heart last night and the last chapter before the appendices included "a tentative effort to restate the Christian spiritual journey in contemporary terms". You can read the whole thing here. There are 42 short statements in all, and here are the first eight...
  • 1. The fundamental goodness of human nature, like the mystery of the Trinity, Grace, and the Incarnation, is an essential element of Christian faith. This basic core of goodness is capable of unlimited development; indeed, of becoming transformed into Christ and deified.

    2. Our basic core of goodness is our true Self. Its center of gravity is God. The acceptance of our basic goodness is a quantum leap in the spiritual journey.

    3. God and our true Self are not separate. Though we are not God, God and our true Self are the same thing.

    4. The term original sin is a way of describing the human condition, which is the universal experience of coming to full reflective self consciousness without the certitude of personal union with God. This gives rise to our intimate sense of incompletion, dividedness, isolation, and guilt.

    5. Original sin is not the result of personal wrongdoing on our part. Still, it causes a pervasive feeling of alienation from God, from other people and from the true Self. The cultural consequences of these alienations are instilled in us from earliest childhood and passed on from one generation to the next. The urgent need to escape from the profound insecurity of this situation gives rise, when unchecked, to insatiable desires for pleasure, possession, and power. On the social level, it gives rise to violence, war, and institutional injustice.

    6. The particular consequences of original sin include all the self serving habits that have been woven into our personality from the time we were conceived; all the emotional damage that has come from our early environment and upbringing; all the harm that other people have done to us knowingly or unknowingly at an age when we could not defend ourselves; and the methods we acquired--many of them now unconscious--to ward off the pain of unbearable situations.

    7. This constellation of prerational reactions is the foundation of the false self. The false self develops in opposition to the true Self. Its center of gravity is itself.

    8. Grace is the presence and action of Christ at every moment of our lives. The sacraments are ritual actions in which Christ is present in a special manner, confirming and sustaining the major commitments of our Christian life.
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Re: Book Discussion-"Manifesting God"/"Open Mind,Open Heart"/etc

Post by Metacrock » Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:22 pm

tinythinker wrote:By the way, I finished reading Open Mind, Open Heart last night and the last chapter before the appendices included "a tentative effort to restate the Christian spiritual journey in contemporary terms". You can read the whole thing here. There are 42 short statements in all, and here are the first eight...
  • 1. The fundamental goodness of human nature, like the mystery of the Trinity, Grace, and the Incarnation, is an essential element of Christian faith. This basic core of goodness is capable of unlimited development; indeed, of becoming transformed into Christ and deified.
how does he mean that? "deified?" that language will set the Evangelicals teeth on edge, but it's not necessarily an anti-Christian phase. the Greek Orthodox use that term, but they mean something very different than the universalism of Buddhists or the fuzzy concepts of the pop east.
2. Our basic core of goodness is our true Self. Its center of gravity is God. The acceptance of our basic goodness is a quantum leap in the spiritual journey.
sounds good to me but what about sin nature? I'm not trying to just be a legalistic retard ate but I think one can't just ignore the fact that Christianity does deal with sin.


3. God and our true Self are not separate. Though we are not God, God and our true Self are the same thing.
off putting seminarian double talk

4. The term original sin is a way of describing the human condition, which is the universal experience of coming to full reflective self consciousness without the certitude of personal union with God. This gives rise to our intimate sense of incompletion, dividedness, isolation, and guilt.
Original sin is not universally held among all Christians.

5. Original sin is not the result of personal wrongdoing on our part. Still, it causes a pervasive feeling of alienation from God, from other people and from the true Self. The cultural consequences of these alienations are instilled in us from earliest childhood and passed on from one generation to the next. The urgent need to escape from the profound insecurity of this situation gives rise, when unchecked, to insatiable desires for pleasure, possession, and power. On the social level, it gives rise to violence, war, and institutional injustice.
It would be more clear if he said it is the inherited capacity to sin
6. The particular consequences of original sin include all the self serving habits that have been woven into our personality from the time we were conceived; all the emotional damage that has come from our early environment and upbringing; all the harm that other people have done to us knowingly or unknowingly at an age when we could not defend ourselves; and the methods we acquired--many of them now unconscious--to ward off the pain of unbearable situations.

I don't mind an existentialized psychologizing of sin. It's really about time actually. I think without Niebuhr's take on it one is missing the basic point. Sin is the upshot of self transcendence. This leads to anxiety about our lot in life because we can extrapolate from past pain to future calamity. This leads us to feather our nests at the expense of others. thus for Niebuhr Sin is not "being bad" or the of inborn evil but of existential anxiety.

7. This constellation of prerational reactions is the foundation of the false self. The false self develops in opposition to the true Self. Its center of gravity is itself.
"perpetual reactions?" It s not! what does that mean. I'm kidding. but I don't know what it means.

8. Grace is the presence and action of Christ at every moment of our lives. The sacraments are ritual actions in which Christ is present in a special manner, confirming and sustaining the major commitments of our Christian life.[/list]
sacraments are the means of bestowing grace. That's the primary function of Scripture. I this king of clinical thearapeutic psyuchologizing about it all.
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Re: Book Discussion-"Manifesting God"/"Open Mind,Open Heart"/etc

Post by Metacrock » Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:24 pm

tinythinker wrote:The book Open Mind, Open Heart was originally published in 1994. I understand it is part of a trilogy of short books, but I gather it is the keystone of the three (which is good for me because the library to which I have access only has that part of the threesome). I read it after reading a much more recent book, Manifesting God (2005), by the same author, Fr. Thomas Keating. You can read my review of this latter book here. And I initially decided to even pick up and peruse this book at the local bookstore because I had read about Fr. Keating's theology and practice in the works of Br. Wayne Teasdale (The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions and A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life).

In reading any or all of these books, or similar works by authors such as Thomas Merton, Thich Nhat Hanh (see this book discussion thread), or even the more academic publications of authors such as Paul Tillich, it appears that while specific beliefs and liturgical practices in many faith traditions are indeed distinct and should not be confused with each other, the living experience of spiritual depth (sometimes referred to as recognizing the vertical dimension of existence as opposed to only the horitizontal dimension) to which these traditions point us is a common reality.

Have you read one or more of the Keating or Teasdale books? If you have and want to discuss them, this thread is for you!


I like Merton. I read him not long after getting saved. I saw real depth in him and decided he was too advanced for me at that point. I never got back to him, I guess its time I did.
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Re: Book Discussion-"Manifesting God"/"Open Mind,Open Heart"/etc

Post by tinythinker » Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:00 pm

Metacrock wrote:
tinythinker wrote:By the way, I finished reading Open Mind, Open Heart last night and the last chapter before the appendices included "a tentative effort to restate the Christian spiritual journey in contemporary terms". You can read the whole thing here. There are 42 short statements in all, and here are the first eight...
  • 1. The fundamental goodness of human nature, like the mystery of the Trinity, Grace, and the Incarnation, is an essential element of Christian faith. This basic core of goodness is capable of unlimited development; indeed, of becoming transformed into Christ and deified.
how does he mean that? "deified?" that language will set the Evangelicals teeth on edge, but it's not necessarily an anti-Christian phase. the Greek Orthodox use that term, but they mean something very different than the universalism of Buddhists or the fuzzy concepts of the pop east.
2. Our basic core of goodness is our true Self. Its center of gravity is God. The acceptance of our basic goodness is a quantum leap in the spiritual journey.
sounds good to me but what about sin nature? I'm not trying to just be a legalistic retard ate but I think one can't just ignore the fact that Christianity does deal with sin.


3. God and our true Self are not separate. Though we are not God, God and our true Self are the same thing.
off putting seminarian double talk

4. The term original sin is a way of describing the human condition, which is the universal experience of coming to full reflective self consciousness without the certitude of personal union with God. This gives rise to our intimate sense of incompletion, dividedness, isolation, and guilt.
Original sin is not universally held among all Christians.

5. Original sin is not the result of personal wrongdoing on our part. Still, it causes a pervasive feeling of alienation from God, from other people and from the true Self. The cultural consequences of these alienations are instilled in us from earliest childhood and passed on from one generation to the next. The urgent need to escape from the profound insecurity of this situation gives rise, when unchecked, to insatiable desires for pleasure, possession, and power. On the social level, it gives rise to violence, war, and institutional injustice.
It would be more clear if he said it is the inherited capacity to sin
6. The particular consequences of original sin include all the self serving habits that have been woven into our personality from the time we were conceived; all the emotional damage that has come from our early environment and upbringing; all the harm that other people have done to us knowingly or unknowingly at an age when we could not defend ourselves; and the methods we acquired--many of them now unconscious--to ward off the pain of unbearable situations.
I don't mind an existentialized psychologizing of sin. It's really about time actually. I think without Niebuhr's take on it one is missing the basic point. Sin is the upshot of self transcendence. This leads to anxiety about our lot in life because we can extrapolate from past pain to future calamity. This leads us to feather our nests at the expense of others. thus for Niebuhr Sin is not "being bad" or the of inborn evil but of existential anxiety.

7. This constellation of prerational reactions is the foundation of the false self. The false self develops in opposition to the true Self. Its center of gravity is itself.
"perpetual reactions?" It s not! what does that mean. I'm kidding. but I don't know what it means.

8. Grace is the presence and action of Christ at every moment of our lives. The sacraments are ritual actions in which Christ is present in a special manner, confirming and sustaining the major commitments of our Christian life.[/list]
sacraments are the means of bestowing grace. That's the primary function of Scripture. I this king of clinical thearapeutic psyuchologizing about it all.
I think your question in relation to statement #1 is answered in statement #3. Look at them together. It sounds like your version of Panentheism. Or to quote a non-Christian source, if you look at a wave, it is made of water. All waves are. And each wave affects the other waves. They all interact with each other and produce the conditions for each other to manifest as a wave, big or small, which lasts for a long time or a short time. On the phenomenlogical level, then, we can compare waves to waves, talk about causality between waves, their location in time and space etc. Yet all waves are water. We cannot directly compare waves to water. We cannot use the same terms for describing waves (big/small, long-lived/short-lived, etc) to water. In the same sense, you cannot use terms for the realm of form, that is, of phenomena, to describe or limit or define ultimate reality. Hence, God (water) and our true Self (a wave) are not separate, but God (water) and our true Self (wave) are not the same thing.

Your concern in relation to statment #2 is addressed in statements #4 to #6. It may be true that not all Christians have referred to original sin, but even Buddhists talk about delusion. As you note yourself, he is actually deconstructing the typical notion of "original sin" and recasting it in a way that doesn't require the whole "we've inherited the blood curse of Adam" deal.

Your question about statement #7 is simply a mis-reading. He is talking about pre-rational reactions, not perpetual ones. I am not sure which part you are kidding about, although I assumed that was it, but from the rest of the book I gather that pre-rational refers to instincts and programmed reponses (i.e. what he also calls "emotional programs for happiness" left over from childhood). That is, the stuff we do when we just react rather than thinking first. If we learned to lash out in anger as children, then that could be a pre-rational reaction we retain as an adult. This is just another way of phrasing what he described in statement #6.

Regarding statment #8, from what I've read of his work I would say that Keating is suggesting grace is constantly being poured out, and that the sacraments remind Christians of this, as opposed to another view in which the rituals are like a magic spell and the effect of the spell, grace, can only be had by those who do it properly under the right conditions. That is, no sacraments, no grace. My own reaction to the idea of sacraments bestowing grace, as opposed to reminding one of the grace they are already receiving, is that it sound like the latter view (the magic spell). As far as sacraments being therapeutic, I doubt Keating would disagree, as he also views contemplative prayer as deep psycho-spiritual therapy.
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Re: Book Discussion-"Manifesting God"/"Open Mind,Open Heart"/etc

Post by Metacrock » Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:45 pm

I'm going to put this discussion on my blog becasue I think it's exemplary of how people of different traditions can discuss intelligently without pissing. If you don't object

but before that I'm going to think of a profound answer to you here, so I wont look so stupid. :mrgreen:
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Re: Book Discussion-"Manifesting God"/"Open Mind,Open Heart"/etc

Post by tinythinker » Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:35 pm

Metacrock wrote:I'm going to put this discussion on my blog becasue I think it's exemplary of how people of different traditions can discuss intelligently without pissing. If you don't object

but before that I'm going to think of a profound answer to you here, so I wont look so stupid. :mrgreen:
Well, actually, Keating would be in your tradition. I was only trying to help clarify those points as best as I could since I had read his book and had more context to go on. I just wondered if this didn't sound a lot like your own ideas about God and sin and the like.
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Re: Book Discussion-"Manifesting God"/"Open Mind,Open Heart"/etc

Post by Metacrock » Thu Feb 21, 2008 10:33 pm

tinythinker wrote:
Metacrock wrote:I'm going to put this discussion on my blog becasue I think it's exemplary of how people of different traditions can discuss intelligently without pissing. If you don't object

but before that I'm going to think of a profound answer to you here, so I wont look so stupid. :mrgreen:
Well, actually, Keating would be in your tradition. I was only trying to help clarify those points as best as I could since I had read his book and had more context to go on. I just wondered if this didn't sound a lot like your own ideas about God and sin and the like.
ahaha I guess so, maybe that's why it sounds good to me.
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