Meditation: Pagan and Christian – Pastoral Conference, St. James Lutheran, Michigan, May 1976 |

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February 24 by The Running Son

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Meditation: Pagan and Christian by Frederick J. Toppe

[Southwest Michigan Pastoral Conference, St. James Lutheran,
Portage, Michigan, May 4, 1976]
by Frederick J. Toppe
 [Excerpt from the Introduction. Click above for full paper]
What started “out” to be a simple study of current forms of meditation, such as Transcendental Meditation, Silva Mind Control, biofeedback, and a comparison of them with Christian meditation, has grown into a rather full-fledged historical and phenomenological study of meditation in its various forms and manifestations. Because much of our world’s religious experience—both pagan and Christian—comes under the concept of meditation (or mysticism,the term for comparable practices in the Christian West), we will find ourselves ranging over the years and over the forms of religious experience, from Buddha to TM, from Eastern Orthodox mysticism to Pentecostalism, from the peyote religion of primitive American Indians to the contemporary drug culture, from medieval mysticism of the Christian West to the proper Scriptural understanding of meditation as a part of the Christian’s devotional life. The first section of this paper will consider the general phenomenon of meditation. The second section considers the various types of meditation and nature mysticism. The third section looks at the monistic meditation of the Hindu and Buddhist East, bringing in a study of TM as a
development of Hindu monism. The fourth section develops the role of mysticism in the Christian West, with special attention to the effect of mysticism upon Luther and its role in Lutheranism. The fifth section will evaluate meditation from our evangelical perspective. And last, we will consider the proper role of meditation in the Christian’s life.

I. The Phenomenon of Meditation

Of all the hard facts of science, I know of none more solid and fundamental than the fact that if you inhibit thought (and persevere) you come at length to a region of consciousness below or beyond thought…and a realization of an altogether vaster self than that to which we are accustomed. And since the ordinary consciousness, with which we are concerned in ordinary life, is before all things founded on the little local self, and is in fact self-consciousness in the little local sense, it follows that to pass out of that is to die to the ordinary self and the ordinary world.

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RFB editor Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013

RunningSon aka Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013 | This site is dedicated with the deepest gratitude to Dr. Cláudio Naranjo, whose writings gave me life.

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