Chapter 1 of Your Daily Life Is Your Temple had me thinking about traditions I hold close to my heart. Did you think anymore about your “ordinary” daily life providing nourishment for your spiritual life?
Our spirituality thrives at the convergence of cultures and traditions…”Anne Rowthorn, Our Daily Life Is Our Temple
Chapter II, Following the Temple Path, explores how we enrich our spiritual life through the inspiration and understanding of other cultures and traditions. Rowthorn describes St. Phillips Church in San Jose, California, a church composed of five distinct ethnic and cultural congregations within a larger parish. Each has a separate, scheduled meeting time, but once a month they come together for a united, glorious festival service. They all bring something special from their different lands of origin. This explains that even though a lot of us come from many different corners of the world, we are all one holy people of God.
Communities of faith connect us. Further into the chapter the question, “How can a buddhist be a Christian?” was posed. Father Veraga of St. Phillip’s Winifredo responded, saying “Our buddhist members remain buddhist and when they accept christianity, they are putting on another layer to their spiritual garment.”
Accepting and learning about other religions adds layers to our spiritual garments. I remember vividly when I was in youth group, Father Steve of Grace Church Carthage, made it very clear how important he felt it was to learn about other religions, traditions, and cultures. He even provided the opportunity when our Wednesday youth group met. Over the course of a month we were greeted with a visitor telling us all about their own religion and culture. I didn’t realize it at the time, but learning about someone else’s perspective of “God” was critical in my personal spiritual development.
Religions are not meant to “compete” with each other; but to be celebrated. I encourage you to take a look into other religions and cultures in your community and others you are interested in learning more about. Incorporate those traditions you find meaningful, add a layer to your own spiritual garment.
- When have you ventured out of your comfort zone to learn about other cultures and/or religions?
- How might exploring other religions be challenging?
- How might it be a healthy thing to do?