What is christian meditation?

Meditation has become a difficult word to define for some it means thinking about a given topic 'really hard', for others the word implies some sort of mental flat line with a complete lack of activity, and for many it has connotations of being strangely 'tranced out'. Tantric Christianity works with a more traditional meaning for the word - focused attention to a particular object of contemplation. The object can be static, as with a word or phrase, or a visual image. It can also be a dynamic visualization, as with the generative meditation which is found in Tantric Christianity.

Meditation is specifically Christian Meditation when the primary purpose is the worship of and union with the Triune God - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Advocate. There are no magic words or gestures, but the intent is magical.

What is tantra?

The word tantra is related to the Sanskrit term meaning 'to weave'. There are a number of ways of understanding the term 'weaving' within the context of religious practice my favorite involves the weaving together of various internal and external forces to help us in our pursuit of the spiritual.

A more operational definition, and the approach taken in this book, is that offered by the Dalai Lama, exiled leader of Tibet, and one of the most avid proponents of interfaith dialogue in the world: tantra is a means by which we actively change how we see ourselves, our world, and our relationship with the divine. With this understanding, we can move beyond the cultural idiosyncrasies that might hold us back from taking advantage of the techniques that can weave us into better Christians.

Why isn't attending church services and receiving the sacraments enough to
become closer to God?

For many Christians it IS enough to attend church, receive the sacraments, and exercise the ethics taught in their tradition. There is nothing wrong with that - it provides a structure for daily life and gives a framework of meaning to their lives. In fact, there is nothing in the book Tantric Christianity that will replace those foundational Christian practices.

However, I have noticed that the very ceremony which works so well for some can act as something of a barrier to a relationship with the divine for others - in much the same way that having a highly regimented pattern of communication in a marriage could seriously impede any sense of intimacy between husband and wife, such a structured approach in opening ourselves to Jesus might not serve everyone well.

Is this some kind of a New Age approach to ChristianityIs this some kind of a New Age approach to Christianity?

Absolutely not! I can respect the impulse toward a more direct experience of God that drives so many people, particularly teenagers and younger adults, to embrace different New Age gurus. Unfortunately, this approach is typified by a lack of solid reasoning which makes those following these 'teachers' subject to horrible flights of fancy.

More akin to a visit to Disney Land than a true spiritual quest, the New Age movement is rooted in a fascination with mystical fireworks. While such fireworks can certainly be experienced with Tantric Christianity practices, they are not the focus. In fact, both Christian and Buddhist spiritual masters are agreed that such phenomenon as visions of holy beings, other places and times, etc., can be indicative of broadening one's horizons beyond the mundane, but really mean little in themselves. If taken too seriously, such experiences become a trap that will leave one even further from the path of true discovery than before.

I've heard that Tantric rites focus on sexuality - is that what your book is

NO! It's unfortunate that the Hindu Tantra from India has become so closely linked with sexuality. There is some validity in the association, but the emphasis here in the West is extreme. While there is an occasional reference to 'spirituality' thrown in, Hindu Tantra here is largely concerned with the extension of pleasurable sensation . The tantra in Tantric Christianity is Buddhist and, while there are some very advanced practices that involve sexual congress, they are not commonly employed and I have made every effort to present practices that are in sync with Christian sensibilities.