Reflections on Suffering

One of the things I most love about the line of work I’ve fallen into—writing books that push the Christian theological envelope—is that it brings me into conversation with so many fascinating people around the world. The majority of these folks belong to the general category of what I’d call “heartbroken Christians:” thoughtful, prayerful, sincere spiritual seekers, often deeply committed to other spiritual paths, who have found in my books permission to re-open their own deep questions and take a second look at Jesus and the Christian path. At any given time, I’ve probably got a half-dozen of these conversations going on. I particularly enjoyed the following one last week with Robert Perry in New Zealand, who has graciously given his permission to reproduce it here.

Dear Cynthia,

Your stunning book, The Wisdom Jesus, which I purchased only three weeks ago, has had a profound effect on me, and the opportunity to ask you a few questions about it directly has felt like an important thing for me to seek.

I understand that you receive a lot of email and that you may not be able to reply straight away – no problem. I also want to clarify that, contrary to possible appearances, when I ask the questions below, I am not “in my head”. I’m thirsty for clarification on a heart level more so than on the level of intellect.

Before I begin with the questions, I just want to add that I met you a few years ago when you spoke at St Andrew’s-on-the-Terrace in Wellington. I certainly don’t expect you to remember me, but, as a Gnostic-Christianity-loving Buddhist, I was inspired by your emphasis on the wisdom aspect of Jesus’ teaching, and the practice of kenosis, so essential to Buddhism under a different name. This talk of yours, and your book, have provided a doorway for me into a more mature take on Christianity which my heart has always known to exist and been in love with, but has, for thirteen years, had a great deal of trouble finding.

So here are my questions: Read more