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Existentialism and Christian Zen
An East/West Way To Christ
by A. William McVey
Publisher:Circle Books imprint of John Hunt Publisjing Ltd
Another short but incredibly detailed and insightful book on meditation and contemplation for Christians whilst taking a leaf from eastern practices.
This book offers an understanding of how the nihilistic concepts of existentialism, particularly as found in Zen Buddhism, are not as removed from Christian practice and insight into God as we might initially think - indeed the active practice of being in every moment is foundational to the teaching of Jesus (consider the lilies in the fields!), and the nihilistic view of life cannot better be found described than in Ecclesiastes 1:2 ' meaningless, meaningless all is meaningless' and here is just the starting point of this wonderful book’s study in how east and west can share a path of practice that leads clearly and closely to Christ (think Martha and Mary as examples of differing practice styles) and that in the end can help with reaching a place of calm and focus that enables a deep and rich spirituality, that in turn leads to a healthier and happier person at peace not only with their selves, but with their lives and others - a place of truly reflected love with Christ at the centre.
This book flows well, deep in parts but not too deep that you feel you are wading through it. The chapters are short and concise and lead to a very helpful end section that contains practical Christian Zen meditations and reflections.
There is nothing here opposed to Christian thought or theology, indeed that is central to the core of the book, but what one does find is a solid place of practical insight into two faiths that though seemingly divergent offer something of true worth to the other, and it opens up the real practice of Christian meditation and contemplation for people to try.
Reviewer: Melanie Carroll (29/10/12)