The cathedral’s website promised that “written prayers, yoga mats, zafu meditation cushions, poetry, and mandalas to draw and color” would be “available as reflection tools.”
For those unfamiliar with Eastern religions, you use a zafu during a zazen (sitting) meditation session. Mandalas are geometric patterns representing the cosmos, and are used in Hinduism, which has thousands of gods, or in Buddhism, which is godless.
I’ve been searching the New Testament for support of Rev. Hall’s assertion that the cathedral’s transformation into a multipurpose center with mandalas would fit into Jesus’ ministry, but so far, no luck.
Many great cathedrals now house heretics, but the physical majesty of these buildings at least preserves a sense of holy ground where people can contemplate the awesomeness of God and the condition of their souls. Now, even that’s been compromised.
Of course, real ministry is found in the heart, not in particular structures. Jesus warned us not to confuse showy religious practices with true repentance and love for God. And, although Jesus might feel more at home in humbler environs than a cathedral, He preached at times in the grandest building of His 33 years on Earth – the Temple in Jerusalem.
But can you envision Jesus of Nazareth converting a cathedral into a handy gym for alternative religions and “public-policy debates on topics including gay equality and gun control?”
The Very Rev. Hall seems able to do so: “If I get people together and say, ‘Let’s talk about God,’ we’ll get an argument. But if I say, ‘Let’s all pray together and experience the divine together in our own way,’ people can enter that in a much more creative and less-judgmental way.”
Translation: Don’t let Jesus and the Bible get in the way. In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” That doesn’t leave much room for the kind of spiritual smorgasbord we’re seeing now in Western nations, especially across the pond.
As the Post informs us, “Long ago, many European cathedrals removed their chairs and now commonly use their spaces for events ranging from corporate parties and arts awards ceremonies to events that can attract youths, such as ‘rave masses,’ where drugs are forbidden but loud music, dancing in bikinis and light shows are encouraged.”
Please don’t bring this up at the National Cathedral’s next vestry meeting.