All very interesting, Mt. I do remember you sharing about your past affiliation with Jaeger, but you have gone into more detail, here, with illuminating examples.
Re. It's really interesting, though, that Buddhist stuff somehow seemed a lot more natural to those people and Jaeger himself . . .
Not too surprising, however, if the meditative method is Zen, as the exoteric aspect of Buddhism would resonate more with the enlightenment consciousness cultivated by Zen. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. The problem in all this is projecting the experience onto the teachings of Jesus and the Christian mystical tradition -- of re-interpreting it through Buddhist lenses. It would be fine if they did Zen and used Buddhist teaching, and showed how there are some touchpoints with the Gospel and certain Christian writers, but they go beyond that.
Re. For me writing with a pen in books in general is unusual, but in the Bible?! But there was in this gesture something very subtle, that I noticed, a kind of negligence and lack of respect for the Scripture. . .
That's fairly common in the U.S., but I hear your feeling that it seems disrespectful. You can listen to radio preachers encouraging this practice with certain verses all the time. I have a bible that I've done this with somewhat, as I've used it for study. I wouldn't do it with the "family bible," however.
Re. By the way, his disciples and followers seriously believe he is some sort of Eckhart - mistakenly persecuted by Church officials unable to understand the depth of his teachings.
I've seen this with others. Once on a centering prayer retreat, where I was one of the speakers, I got into a discussion about nonduality with one of the participants, who was trying to tell me that you just can't understand the Gospel until you reach that stage or state. I tried to counter that, and was shortly told that I was still in "mythic consciousness," which was an easy way of discounting my critique of what he was saying. It's not easy coming to a meeting of the minds in complicated theological matters, but it's surely never going to happen when reason itself is discounted.
Re. Jaeger once complained to me that he is saying basically the same things as Thomas Keating, but "Keating strangely has no enemies".
Oh, Keating has plenty of enemies. The EWTN Catholic television statement has criticized him and Centering Prayer on numerous occasions, as has the popular Catholic Answers site. Evangelicals don't much like him, either. But most of the critiques one reads about him on these kinds of sites try to place centering prayer in the same boat with TM and Zen, and that's just wrong. It's a variant of the traditional prayer of simplicity (aka simple regard), or active recollection. There's valid critique of how the method is taught, however, and some of the teaching that goes with it. We explored that on this forum sometime back.
Keating has been much more diligent in connecting his teaching with orthodoxy than has Jaeger. There are plenty of "orthodox police" in the U.S., and I'm sure they've sent complaints to bishops and even Rome. So far as I know, Keating has not been disciplined in any way, and what I am sure of is that if something he said or wrote could be demonstrated as wrong, he would, like Eckhart, correct it. Jaeger, it seems, is disinclined to do so.
Thanks, Phil, for your remark about the custom of marking the Bible with a pen. I didn't take into consideration cultural differences. However, I have a suspicion that in Germany it might be as in Poland, since European, and particularly Middle-European customs are quite often homogenous. I'd have to ask someone German about it. In pre-war Poland there was a very great respect for books in educated classes - you didn't put them on the ground, you wouldn't left them open facing the table, eat while reading or making any marks (even pencil was forbidden, although I must confess I make notes in the printed books I work with scholarly). Some people even used some additional package for a book, while putting it in a bag, in order to preserve the cover. Those customs hardly survived the Communist terror, cause the commies hated books and everything that was connected to the "bourgeois" culture. I myself don't respect all those things anymore, apart for the pen marking and leaving books on the ground. But I think those were good customs - they used to express a deep European respect for knowledge, education and beauty. Now it's all gone and what we have instead is the European Union (as a punishment for our sins, no doubt about it) as well as purging public places from Christmas trees, Holy Family pictures and the very word "Christmas". A respectful, Dutch publishing house, sent me a personalized email with some "Happy Holidays", I suppose in order NOT to use the word beggining with "Christ-". So many people would feel so deeply offended by that ugly word... Well, next year it will be "happy un-holy-days", since "holy" and even "holly" is to become oppressive as well, I'm sure... (this probably fits better to "Religion and Culture").
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