Do you find inspiration from elements of Greek philosophy in your Christian contemplative journey?

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Do you find inspiration from elements of Greek philosophy in your Christian contemplative journey?

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:57 pm

It is truly said that sublime insights of Greek philosophy, inspired by God, set the stage for the Incarnation, the "Christ-event", as much did God's revelation of monotheism to the Jews. What insights into the Mystery of Christ is supplied by Greek philosophers, such as Heraclitus, Plato, and the Stoics, in your view?


Last edited by Admin on Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Do you find inspiration from elements of Greek philosophy in your Christian contemplative journey?

Post by rpw8 on Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:09 am

Love the Greeks. Beautiful country and arts. Had been in Greece many years ago. Didn't know many English words are derived from Greek. That was told to me from someone who was a tour guide. In my art class some gentleman said many words actually came from Nordic or Viking tribes ? Maybe Celtic ? Still the Romans and the Greeks were before the Nordic tribes. They invaded the Romans. Not sure about that or where he got his info. Certainly inspiration in the arts, pretty rusty on the Greek Philosophers

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Re: Do you find inspiration from elements of Greek philosophy in your Christian contemplative journey?

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:14 pm

R, I wrote this as post on my Facebook page today, and I am posting on this topic--

HOW GREEK PHILOSOPHY MADE ME TAKE A SECOND LOOK AT CHRISTIANiTY

I credit Greek philosophy with my taking a second look at Christianity after fifteen years of seeking God in Eastern pathways.   I chanced on the term “Logos” in an account of a Christian contemplative of her spiritual journey, which gave witness to what she had been given to know of Christ and Trinity.   The truth of the “Logos” changed forever my understanding of the Divine Trinity, and also Christ.  In was in this context I met the term “Logos”,  a term new to me-- I knew neither its use in Greek philosophy, nor its centrality in Christianity.
I was baptized into the Catholic Faith as an infant, but left Catholicism in my teens for spirituality of yogic meditation and Advaita.  I was especially attracted to the accent in Hindu yogic literature on the OMNIPRESENCE of God.  Consider these verses from the Bhagavad-Gita on divine omnipresence
“He is inside as well as outside all beings, animate and inanimate. He is incomprehensible because of His subtlety. And because of His omnipresence, He is very near --- residing in one’s inner psyche --- as well as far away in the Supreme Abode. (13.15)
Certainly my Catholic  faith taught had taught me, even as a child, that God is omnipresent.  Preparing for First Communion, we read and studied the following these very lines from an edition of the Baltimore Catechism:
Q:Where is God?
A: God is everywhere.
Short but sweet!  
But as it is, I only really ‘heard’ that answer  -- “God is everywhere”-- years later, in my teens, when the nearness and sublimity of God Everywhere grabbed me somehow, enfiring my desire to know God Omnipresent.  My first desire know God Omnipresent were abetted by verses such as this from Chandogya Upanishad:
“Verily, all this universe is Brahman. From Him do all things originate, into Him do they dissolve and by Him are they sustained. On Him should one meditate in tranquillity. ” Chandogya Upanishad III

I was charmed to Eastern pathways by hundreds of passages in yogic classics such the above, which affirmed  God and the universe as One, and that God is always near.  I was further charmed by the basic  Hindu characterization of God as Existence-Knowledge-Bliss (Sanskrit SAT-CHIT-ANANDA).  These inspired views kindle a desire to be know God’s Presence everywhere, and throughout the day.  
In contrast the Divine Trinty of Christianity I had known upto this point had held little interest to me.  As a teen I was not disenchanted with Christianity, but revered it; not because I was moved by the Godhead as Trinity, but because I was moved by the greatness of Jesus’s love of God and neigher.   As for the Trinity, I accepted It on faith, any didn’t try to puzzle it out.  
What I didn’t find in the Christian Trinity was now what I most longed for: God Omnipresent.  
We are all familiar with Christian art that portrays the Trinity as three separate figures floating a cloud-laced heaven.  The Old Man with long grey beard, the “God the Father”.   The Young Man with short beard, in sandals, “God the Son”; the Dove, “God the Holy Spirit.”  
This is a far cry from God Omnipresent I was seeking, and finding, through Eastern pathways.
But I was wrong about this, I would learn.  The Christian Trinity is God Omnipresent.....and  God Transcendent....and God Immanent-- indivisible One, these are God’s Three Modes of Existence.  
That’s where my discovery of Christianity’s “Logos” comes in.  The Logos of the Trinity IS precisely God Omnipresent, the very “Mode” of the Trinity that had specially charmed me.  
It was the my discovery of the place and significance of the Logos in Christianity that would rescue the Christian Trinity for me-- rescue it from the caricatures of my imagination, and from  bad art.
My next post on this will describe the amazing meaning of “Logos” for Stoic philosophy and for Christianity, especially its mystical significance the contemplative Christian.

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Re: Do you find inspiration from elements of Greek philosophy in your Christian contemplative journey?

Post by rpw8 on Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:14 am

The "eastern" way I went the Advaita as well. Bought some videos, read I AM That from Nisgarradatta, twice. He says some beautiful things as Pat masters had quoted from him. The whole omniscience, omnipresent thing I never really understood. All of what crossed my path seemed to be a better grasp and understanding of what we are not, though I can say going east through books, videos didn't have any real substance for helping understand God or Christ. I was really quite taken by the guys in great beards with only one thing in my mind God realization. Thinking I can do that, or that's what I want. It had great appeal. The whole thing was the internet. I spent hours looking stuff up. Came across a few Upanishads. I was charmed too.

Ultimately, when I was in 7 grade I went to Europe saw all these amazing cathedrals and the really felt a presence. Didn't know if it was a real presence though. The smells, the artistic beauty, the love of Christ. My folks would kid around saying they can see me being a monk squishing grapes with my feet. Aside from seeing great works of art, the cathedrals spoke to me more. I was really young to fully appreciate some of art but going into a cathedral was another story.

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Re: Do you find inspiration from elements of Greek philosophy in your Christian contemplative journey?

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:55 pm

R,
Around what age were you reading heavily in advaita? Were you in your teens? Funny about stomping the grapes!
What about the Cathedral 'spoke to you'? Did being in them give you a certain sense?
Joe

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Re: Do you find inspiration from elements of Greek philosophy in your Christian contemplative journey?

Post by rpw8 on Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:58 am

That's tough to say.  I am 49, so in the 7 grade I went to Europe for 6 weeks. Tower of London was dark and little creepy with it's history of torture. What little I remember,  Norte Dame was incredible with it's architecture.  The castle in Scotland, Borthwick to be exact. Ashford castle and Dromoland in Ireland. The boy in me loved the knighthood.  Thinking how awesome it would be to own a castle. Luckily my mom made travel binders of our journey's.  I'll have to go back and look through them.  Being in smaller towns throughout Italy such as Portifino, Postitano.  We hit the big places. Rome, Venice and Florence the area up by Lake Cuomo. I could of lived along the Amalfi coast or up the Lake Cuomo. Most beautiful places.  Been to Italy maybe a handful of times. Obviously saw the Sistine Chapel. One year saw the Pope and came close to almost being crushed by old ladies. The Advaita maybe 10 years ago.  Really hard to say, not always having a great sense of time.  Little more or less.  Interesting how so many folks in California are into the whole Buddhist thing.  Some guy, Stephen Wolinsky out by Palo Alto I believe.  He had these videos.  Watched them numerous times.  Interesting how he interpreted what Jesus said what he meant by Father.  He had went to India and seen Sri Nisgarradatta so needless to say.  He really didn't have a clue.

  In ending it all came back to the majesty of the cathedrals be it the larger one's and smaller one's. How huge and important Jesus was and now the cathedrals are just a tourist thing or being closed. The presence that BR spoke of going in to certain churches as apposed to others.  The 2 churches I had gone to in my youth had no such feel.  Down the street from me I can say yes to having the presence. Cincinnati has some cool, older ones in not such a great part of town.  Seems Cincinnati has been a pretty popular among certain film makers.  Having some authentic German style areas which are quite unique.

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Re: Do you find inspiration from elements of Greek philosophy in your Christian contemplative journey?

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:31 pm

Thanks, R,
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