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From the Twentieth Anniversary Report November 2004

5. Interreligious Research and Christian Theology

The story of Realistic Living would not be complete without elaborating the depth and extent of our interreligious research.  Interreligious themes were present in our first book, The Future of Religion.  They were introduced in a primary way in 1996 in our first tape-bound study book, a thirty-page presentation entitled, The Birth & Rebirth & Rebirth & Rebirth . . . of Spirit: some reflections upon the origins and survival possibilities of the last remaining upright-walking primates.  And in the last decade interreligious research has been a major focus of energy.

Joyce and Gene have attended together nine silent Buddhist meditation retreats ranging from 3 to 10 days in length.  In addition, Joyce has attended eight other retreats, one lasting 30 days.  Joyce has also counseled extensively with Buddhist teachers and has read (or Joyce and Gene have read together) scores of books on Buddhism, Christian dialogues with Buddhism, and devotional materials in this vein.  Further, we have studied most of the philosophical and psychological works of Ken Wilber and A. H. Almaas, each of whom works out of the Eastern religious milieu and in Almaas’ case Sufi Islam.  We have attended four Almaas-related Diamond Approach workshops and each of us has had four private sessions with Diamond Approach teachers.  Gene attended a Diamond Approach five-day workshop on the Spirit dimension of the enneagram.  We have extensively absorbed these lively Spirit resources that are sweeping our continent.  In addition we have participated in sweat lodges, learned toning practices from a Native American Shaman, and Dance Meditation from Dunya, a professional Sufi dance teacher.

The interior significance of all this cannot be articulated.  Suffice it to say that it influences all of our work.  One of the most important themes arising in these explorations is the awareness that each human personality is a collection of habits that are past oriented and block access to our true Spirit nature.  In order to contact that Spirit nature, we must get in touch with our own bodies, neutralize the judgments of our superego, and inquire with courageous curiosity into every aspect of our here-and-now experience.

We have worked to translate all these interreligious learnings into the vocabulary and frameworks of Christian resurgence.  This task is ongoing.  The Symposium meetings, the Leader-ship Training Schools, the Sojourn, and local Christian Resurgence Circles are the places where the full flowering of this work is taking place.

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