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Prayer, Plain and Simple

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

AN: People use the word “Karma” in many ways. What does it actually mean, in your frame of reference?

MH: Karma is an ancient Hindu word; the complete concept is very complex. Most religions, including Judaism and Christianity include some tenet similar to the concept of Karma. When we experience trouble, we imagine there must be some cause. A shattered relationship, financial struggles, health problems, family strife – Why? What’s the reason? We also want to know if there is a way out? It’s almost instinctive to explain our troubles by saying, “We reap what we sow,” or “The piper has to be paid,” or “The chickens always come home to roost.” We seem to understand that if we act well, blessings come back to us; if we act badly, problems come back to us. This, in its simplest form is “Karma.” Again, I know it’s much more nuanced than this for those who spend a lifetime exploring the depths. But in a popular sense, this is what I mean when I use the word.

AN: Why is our culture so fascinated with Karma?

MH: The word “karma” is chic. It seems to explain everything, I suppose. And more, it promises me some control over my own destiny. Karma gives me a kind of roadmap for mastery. It may take me a eons, but at least it gives me direction. We like this. Google “karma” and you could get 106 million results. Not bad for an arcane word coined 4,000 years ago to describe a concept almost impossible for westerners to fully grasp. Now alongside belief in a God who communicates, cares, makes choices and prefers one thing over another, many have added faith in “Karma” – a belief in the sovereignty of cause and effect. In order to communicate the gospel in this environment, we have to take into account the belief in Karma and go from there. Again, I’m starting here and using this as a bridge to talk about – and hopefully better understand – Jesus. That’s the essence behind my book “The Karma of Jesus,” and the website www.dumpyourkarma.com.  

 

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