Friday, June 12, 2015

What is the Christian I Ching?

I Ching Stones
The I Ching is a 3,000 year old book of Chinese Wisdom. It is pronounced "ee" (rhyming with me) ching (rhyming with bring). I Ching is sometimes written Yìjīng. The purpose of the I Ching is to help us make sense out of situations with which we are struggling.

From a Christian perspective, the I Ching helps us understand how God is calling us to respond to complex situations in our lives. So the Christian I Ching is the I Ching interpreted and understood from the perspective of Christianity.

The ancient authors of the I Ching believed that there are 64 fundamental patterns and that any situation we can ever face can be described by one of these 64 patterns. In traditional I Ching language, these patterns are called hexagrams. In the language of the Christian I Ching, these patterns are called archetypes.

The I Ching believes that situations also respond to the energy around them. Energy causes things to change. When a situation responds to the energy around it, it becomes a new situation. This new situation then becomes described by a new archetype.

To fully understand a given situation, we need to know three things. First, which of the 64 archetypes describes the situation. Second, what are the energy patterns effecting the situation . Third, what situational change is likely due to these energy patterns and which of the 64 archetypes will describe the changed situation.

Think of yourself in a kayak in a river. The I Ching shows you where you are in the river (the situation you are trying to understand), how the currents are flowing in the river (the energy flows), and where the currents are likely to bring you (the changed situation.)

From the Christian perspective, God is the context in which we exist; God is the river. Given a specific situation with which we are struggling, the Christian I Ching shows us where we are with respect to that situation, how God is calling us to move forward (the energy flows), and where God's call is likely to lead us (the new situation).

Notice that the I Ching doesn't predict the future. It shows us where we are, how God is calling us to respond, and where that response is likely to lead. But the I Ching can't predict whether we are going to follow God's call. That is up to us. God has given us free will.

In upcoming blogs, I will describe much more about the I Ching as understood from a Christian perspective. If you would like to be notified about future blogs, papers, and web presentations, our subscription page is <here>.

If you would like to read The Christian I Ching, you can find excerpts and ordering information <here>.

May the peace of Christ be with you, now and forever.

- Roger Sessions, Obl., O.S.B.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave comments here.