Learning from other Traditions

“What can I learn from a spiritual tradition different from my own? For me, the answer is a great deal. Over the years I have had an open border policy when it comes to faith. I have never felt nervous about the need to guard my frontiers of belief, instead I have welcomed difference as a chance to explore and discover. Has this experience changed me? Yes and no. No, I have not changed my spiritual outlook to conform to every new thought I encounter. But yes, I have been deeply informed, matured and blessed by such diversity. I have learned more about myself by learning more about others. Learning is listening.” Bishop Steven Charleston daily Facebook

What richness we can gain from other traditions.  An Episcopal priest and well known author, Lauren Winner, introduces us in her book, Mudhouse Sabbath, to many Jewish practices that she grew up with that could enrich other traditions. Jewish spiritual practices around the death of a loved one honor the one who died but also compassionately honor the grieving left behind in time honored rituals through that first hard year after a death.

I have learned from Muslim friends about the honoring of a fast at Ramadan. The Eastern Orthodox tradition has given us the gift of icons as a spiritual practice.  Other Eastern religions have taught us about yoga and contemplative prayer. The Catholic monastic tradition has given us the gift of chanting and developing a rule of life.

Exploring other traditions can only enlarge our image of God and our God language. They help us take God out of the tidy box our traditions have a tendency to cloister our God in.  

Joanna   joannaseibert.com