Monday, August 25, 2014

1200 Steps

Zoroastrianism versus Buddhism?

I'm reading Horses of Heaven right now, a novel set in central Asia around 200 BC.  (I'm 3/4 of the way through, o daughters-of-mine who have been waiting who-knows-how-long for me to finish reading your book before you get a crack at it.)  Zoroastrians believe that there can be joy in the world, and that the material world was created good but was infected with evil.  The Buddhists, on the other hand, are more in line with the Gnostics, seeing the material world as something inferior, something to be suffered, something to be released from.

Anyway ...
the Zoroastrian dude in the story is plagued by his struggle with sin.  While visiting another city, he finds himself a Zoroastrian temple.  He goes to the priest who suggests a purifying rite.  The Mazdayist liturgy included the line:
May the bright heaven, the all-blissful paradise, come toward you twelve hundred steps for every step.
And I kept thinking, ... wow, that concept shows up frequently in Christianity* too.  "God goes the distance; He comes to you; but [but BUT but] you have to take steps toward Him." 

We just can't stand the thought that grace is ALL from the Lord and not at all earned or merited in any way, can we?  That would be just too too radical.

* Footnote: That is, this teaching too often
shows up in Christian churches, even though
it is contrary to Christian teaching.  


  1. Man, I love Gillian Bradshaw. I've never known anyone else whose read her! The Beacon at Alexandria is my favorite. I really liked seeing the mix of the early church and early medical scholarship.

  2. My daughters introduced me to Gillian Bradshaw. I think "Beacon" is probably my favorite one too.