Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Eastern or Western?

If you've read this blog much at all, you've probably already figured I'm not a proponent of corporal punishment.

To be even more clear, I am a Christian who rejects the notion that our modern spanking methods were lifted directly from Scripture.

About 8 years ago, I was introduced to the concept of gentle parenting. Some great resources I found are Gentle Christian Mothers, Arms of Love Family Fellowship, Hermana Linda's Why Not Train A Child?, Dulce de leche, and Dare to Disciple.

One of my favorite resources (and not just because he's a male voice that other men in the ├╝ber-patriarchal environment of Fundamentalist Christianity wouldn't disregard on anatomy alone) is Samuel Martin's Bible Child. I am incredibly impressed with his scholarship and tremendously appreciate the work he has put into researching this topic in particular. Not only does he publish his findings on his blog, he also provides a free e-book to anyone willing to take an honest look at Biblical discipline.

In this recent post, Sam explores the prejudices we can have toward things that are unpretentious or rustic, often conflating simplistic with inferior. Also specific to my background, ideas originating in the East were viewed with suspicion, whereas theories with Western origins were often accepted without scrutiny. Eastern practices were "improved" by overlaying or combining them with Western variants.

One (relatively minor) example of this was one of my Christian school teachers discussing the Bible passage, "O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day." She described meditation as keeping something constantly in your mind, "not that Eastern idea of meditation where you sit cross-legged and say, 'Om.'"

Even then, my mind boggled. Wasn't the Bible written in the East? And wouldn't it stand to reason when David wrote of meditating, it would look like the Ancient Jewish practice of meditation rather than simply keeping something in mind?  (I'll grant that om is Hindi, and thus not likely something David or any other Bible patriarchs would've been familiar with!)

I've had to confront my ingrained prejudices and racism since I've begun honestly examining my beliefs. I've found there is much about the Bible that I was taught from a Western perspective that genuinely doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

It is always good to periodically re-evaluate our beliefs. Obviously, we learn as we grow and mature, so it makes sense that we come into deeper understanding of our values. We discard what we discover to be half-truths, and we explore our new grasp of wisdom.

We need not fear taking information from any source, so long as we carefully analyze it for Truth.