Some time ago, I discovered the Tao te Ching, an ancient book of Chinese wisdom and spirituality that has dramatically influenced my spiritual formation. This may come as shocking to some people, but rather than driving me away from a Christ-centered faith, this book has actually helped me hold onto it. If you’re feeling skeptical, feel free to check out the introduction post to the series.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/arts-essays/2020/christian-reads-tao-te-ching-chapters-8-and-78-water-you-talking-about
Thank you for your very well written paper and will listen to your podcasts. I especially like the fact that you were courageous enough to demonstrate that non-Biblical sources are useful and instructive. In the Adventist tradition their is great fear in such sources to the point of being taboo and thus many suffer great self inflicted ignorance and lack knowledge.
Marcus Borg in his book, “Meeting Jesus Again For The First
Time”, pg 70 has this to say about Lao-tzu and the Buddha.
" The second type of Wisdom is a subversive and alternative.
[the first was conventional wisdom] This Wisdom questions and
undermines conventional wisdom and speaks of another Way,
another Path. Its teachers are subversive sages, and they
include some of the most famous figures of religious history.
Within Eastern religions, the two best-known teachers of a
world-subverting wisdom are Lao-tzu and the Buddha.
Lao-tzu spoke of following a “way” that led away from
conventional perceptions and values and toward living in
accord with “the Tao” itself. At the center of the Buddha’s
teaching is the image of a way, “the eighfold path,” leading
from the world of convention and its “grasping” to enlightenment
and compassion. At the fountainhead of the Western
philosophical tradition, Socrates taught a subversive wisdom
that involved the citizens of Athens in a critical examination of
the conventions that shaped their lives. For his efforts, he was
The wisdom of subversive sages is the wisdom of “the road less
traveled”. And so it was with Jesus. His wisdom spoke of “the
narrow way”, which led to life, and subverted the “broad way”
followed by the many, which led to destruction. To see the narrow
way that Jesus spoke of, His subversive and alternative wisdom,
we need to look at both the HOW and the WHAT of His wisdom
Thanks for this article; it shows me that The Rebel Jesus inspires in many places, not leaving any part of the world in darkness.
Ok. First the first. You have read the Tao te king, I practiced. I (sadly) was a taoist, martial arts practitioner, and a New Age follower (Reiki Master, Silva Mind Control practitioner, yoga, and a large and sad etc.). Your intentions are good, but you are drinking from a fountain of the enemy. We Adventist are not afraid of reading… we want to follow the advice and pay attention to the warnings of the Word of God and from His prophets. The enemy will imitate God all he can. You are going astray. There is no good at all in the Tao te king. You want to read non-Adventist literature? Read good science. Do not mess with philosophies. Satan’s ground.
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