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Old 01-05-2007, 01:46 PM   #25
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: Western religion and Aikido

Jorge Garcia wrote:
Just for the record, I could never agree with some of your suppositions because they aren't faithful to the intent of the writers. None of the classic Fathers responsible to the Ecumenical Creeds would have accepted O Sensei's beliefs and neither would have the Westminster Divines or anyone from the Reformed tradition.
The intent of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church with regard to Shinto, as to which they had absolutely no knowledge, or Omoto, which did not even exist at the time, is a speculation of debatable significance. That also seriously overstates the case that I made:
Erick Mead wrote:
Shinto can be accepted in every particular where it does not conflict with revealed truth.
We are not talking about professions of faith. We are talking about the practice of Aikido in the context of Western religion.

I do not take a position on primacy of anything other than revealed truth. Doctrine is not contested. I think it can be affirmatively stated that Shinto has virtually no affirmative doctrinal statements, at least not in the Western sense.
Jose Garcia wrote:
Calvin nor any of his immediate predecessors would never be found accepting the Shinto or the Omoto kyo world view or cosmology.
An assumption we will never be able to test. The Good News is good for all peoples and all times, but all peoples at all times are not the same in their understanding or application of it, nor is therei need for any particular aspect of grace the same, either.

Moreover, the graces of the Church are not static, but grow in history and in wisdom, like the seed of the mustard tree. Different branches have had and do have different conceptions of stablizing doctrines in the course of that growth for their times and circumstances. The simultaneous universality and variety of those ideas of stabilizing infulences only deomnstrates the fact that the faith is a living and growing thing.

I strongly contest the inevitablity of conflict on essentials of the underlying conception of Truth expressed by O Sensei in the practices and rituals of Aikido passed down to us. NOT egaging them and examining them carefully and faithfully is a pointless and overly inhibiting objection. Semina Verbi. Seeds of the Word are everywhere. The good news is found in some capacity wherever the Spirit moves the hearts of men. The seeds should not be discarded because you find them among what you deem to be inessential chaff. Was St. Paul wrong in preaching the statue of the "unknown god" to the Athenians?

There is no difference in this context if we are to take the broadest possible and therefore least doctrinal conception when addressing a context far removed from Western ideas of doctrine and theology.
Jose Garcia wrote:
Sorry but you are just incorrect. I pride myself in researching the truth and accepting it for what it is but as much as I respect O Sensei, His religious beliefs were definitely NOT compatible with any version of classic and orthodox Christianity in the mainstream for the last 2000 years.
I don't have the authority to say that they are compatible in every particular, nor did I. But then, on the other hand, neither has anyone else made such a determination as a general matter. It is quite literally an open question with suggestive things to discuss. Prejudgment has no place in religion or in any other aspect of life.
Jose Garcia wrote:
Some of the things he taught and believed were in fact true but the fundamental things he held to were not compatible with Christian teaching that accepts the basis of classical historic Christianity.
In addition to Aikido training, O Sensei's root practice (his daily observance) was Chinkon Kishin. It means "calm the spirit, return to the Divine." Chinkon Kishin incoporates martial techniques of spiritual significance as well as kotodama.

If O Sensei understood his cosmology in terms of the Divine Logos (which he expressly did), how is Chinkon Kishin and the practice of kotodama anything but oriented toward "SU" "the Word," the Saving Name - "I AM"?? In it essentials, it is Christ-oriented, when observed from a Christian perpsective. It therefore cannot be condemned out of hand. That understanding is at least at the level of the God-fearers in the early Church who associated themselves with synagogues thorughout the Greco-Roman world and who formed the ready corps of Gentile converts to Christianity.
Jose Garcia wrote:
Again, I respect your right to make the connections you did and your Christianity may be sufficiently diluted to accept fully all of O Sensei's belief system
It isn't and I didn't, especially not in the way you mean. The care that I put into my statements is a reflection of both my openness to the creativity of the Spirit working in the world and my deep respect for orthodoxy and the need for stabilizing authority. They are never really at odds. You really should read Chesterton's book by that title - "Orthodoxy."
Jose Garcia wrote:
... it still differs substantially from all of the sources you cited without question or debate from all the important and credible sources. I would have loved to correct you point by point but I'm sure it wouldn't chnange you and you won't change me so it's wisdom to call the truce now bow out here because I don't want this discussion to degenerate into a religious argument.
I anticipated that you, or someone from your perpsective, might like to try to correct me, which is why I laid the invitation on the table. As long as we do not depart (and we have not) from the "sprirt of gentleness" counseled by both St. Paul and O Sensei, what's the problem with religious debate in reference to Aikido -- given the topic at hand?


Erick Mead
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