Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

An Interview with Alex Ness on “The Karma of Jesus.”

Alex Ness is a writer, poet, and social critic. Recently Alex interviewed me (Mark Herringshaw) about my book, “The Karma of Jesus.” Here are some excerpts:

AN: Whatever possessed you to write a book called “The Karma of Jesus?”


MH: The brainstorm sideswiped me after I was heckled in church. I am a pastor and I was speaking during a worship service when a young man in his twenties spoke up out of the audience and began peppering me with questions about the differences between Christianity and New Age thought. I invited him to come up afterward to talk. He told me his personal story, and along the way I discovered that he anchored his life on his understanding of Karma. As I listened, I suddenly thought of a way to explain the Christian way of seeing the world in his language. That’s the backdrop of the book – the essence of our actual dialog, where I introduced to him the idea that Jesus invites us: “dump our Karma.” I don’t know how our conversation has ultimately impacted him, but it changed me and the way I understand my role as a follower of Jesus.


AN: If Karma is so intertwined with popular cultural thought, do you write this in attempt to detach culture from that?  

MH: I believe I’m following an ancient tradition of Christian communicators who’ve dared to borrow pagan language to communicate orthodoxy. In the New Testament itself the Apostle John used the Greek concept “logos” to explain Jesus. He starts his Gospel, “In the beginning was the Logos… and the Logos became flesh.” Logos came from Greek philosophy and it meant “the organizing principle of the world.” John swipes this word and uses it to describe Jesus. No, I’m not trying to detach “karma” from the popular parlance; I’m doing with Patrick in Ireland did when he baptized Celtic symbols like the shamrock to explain the Christian vision. Christianity is very elastic. What we believe doesn’t change but the way we “incarnate” it in culture always does. My job, as a Jesus-follower is to translate Jesus, without distorting him.  Our culture now idolizes elements of the ancient idea of “Karma.” Ask people and they will tell you: “Good comes to those who do good, and trouble comes from trouble.” That’s our ethical system today. So, in The Karma of Jesus I present a classic interpretation of Christ’s life, teachings and death starting from the language of modern New Age spirituality. It’s my assumption that Jesus is always the answer; I just have to know what the question is. The question today is, “Karma’s a bitch; What the hell can I do about that?” Answer: “dumpyourkarma.”

  • The Barking Unicorn, Denver, CO

    “It’s my assumption that Jesus is always the answer; I just have to know what the question is.”
    To one who has only a hammer, every problem is a nail. To you, I suppose every question is, “What did I do wrong that needs forgiveness?”
    Forgiveness requires blame. There is no blame.

  • Sheila

    Need to proof read this again. Nice article otherwise.

  • Mike

    I think there maybe more to Karma in a positive way. Research the original Lords Prayer in armenic. It is very new age and makes a lot of sense of why we love our God and how he made everything for us including us,

  • Landar

    There are so many different aspects to this question. I would suggest the main thing is to dump the search terms, such as karma, and to search for the real inner being inside yourself instead. Really most of life is like a fog, if not a smokescreen unless we do this. The arguments are so many and varied. However the light at the end of life, and the light at the beginning, meet in the deeper being within you, and make sense of the wealth of colours which make up our life between birth and death. That light can shine on every detail of our experience, no matter how small. To complete the circle of existence, find the deeper being inside yourself. This is another way of saying to find the being of love within you.

  • josh

    2 Corinthians 6:14 & 15 takes care of this ‘problem” :14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?…There is no ‘karma’ in the Gospel and it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ or the salvation found only in Him. Concerning those who would teach that ‘karma’ can be even remotely related to the Word of God, the Gospel or to Jesus Christ, the Bible says this plainly:

    1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

    2 Peter 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

    ” the brainstorm sideswiped me” Mark says? Yes, and it didn’t come from God – it came from Satan. “karma’ is a doctrinal term used ONLY in doctrines of demons.
    Repent.because your ‘heckler’ was correct.

    Avoid the book like the plague, especially in these last of the last days.

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