Talk:Christian meditation

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Good article Christian meditation has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
April 14, 2010 Good article nominee Listed

Loyola[edit]

No mention of Ignatius Loyola? DJ Clayworth 13:57, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Improvement Drive[edit]

Meditation is currently a nominee on WP:IDRIVE. If you would like to see this article improved vote for it on WP:IDRIVE.--Fenice 15:33, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Does the pope oppose contemplative prayer?[edit]

Does the pope oppose contemplative prayer? I don't think so; if you disagree, please quote something the pope said, instead of falsely giving the impression that some fundamentalist tracts were written by the pope. Thank you. Samboy (talk) 19:39, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

In the first instance there is no support that any Christian group opposes contemplative prayer. And the present pope has made a statement condemning New Age practice among Catholics, which probably includes contemplative prayer. To clear this up perhaps you might care to offer some support that the Pope advocates contemplative prayer?

Mombas (talk) 08:16, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

"Criticism" section[edit]

Further to above question on Popes views. The section is very vague based upon "some" Christians. It gives claims that Pope John Paul dissaproved meditation without any direct quotation. Conversly, it gives some direct quotations without explaining the relevance of the commenter or anything at all for that matter. One of the quotations is about neither Christianity or criticism but rather is about saying "Meditation is important to New Age". The weblink citation about John Paul certainly does talk about his New Age warnings but nothing about meditation. The section is truly a fine example of the good reasons for WP:Original Research. There may be scope for a section on Christian critcism of meditation, which I doubt, but this section today is improper, has been for some time, and I plan to delete it in the next few days because it spreads funny ideas rather than information. I assume good faith and apologise to the work put in to it. Try again with a little less sermonage and a bit more causality. (?) ~ R.T.G 05:33, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Done ~ R.T.G 23:33, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Article clean up[edit]

This article seems to need cleanup and better references. Example problems:

  • There are only 5 references, 2 of which are from the first paragraph and the St Theresa discussion that I touched up a few days ago. So there are just 3 references for the rest of the text - this needs help.
  • The section meditation: many strands does not produce any coherent ideas, but lists the names of people and links to Church names! I think it needs to be trimmed back or deleted and replaced with referenced text.
  • Theology of Christian meditation starts with a discussion of Hindu ideas! And it has very little to say.
  • Scriptural basis has NO reference and the rest of the article has "citation needed" tags.

I am going to clean these up in the next few days. In the meantime suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 15:41, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Well, it ended up being a 90% rewrite, but it has 30 references now. History2007 (talk) 20:07, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Christian meditation/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Redtigerxyz Talk 13:22, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    Pass/Fail:
  • File:JohnCross.jpg does not have a source/author to validate its 17th century date and resultant PD license.
  • Format reference Parry, Ken; David Melling (33) in format used in other references for consistency.
  • Add author, publisher, date for web references - 22, 29, 34
  • Add publisher info for all books.
  • Can an infobox be added?
  • Add a summary of History, Approaches to meditation and Denominational issues to summarize whole article per WP:LEAD
  • Context and structure: Though Teresa's notability of views can be grasped by her St. prefix, explain why should the views of others be considered notable. e.g Hans Urs von Balthasar is notable because he is a theologian and priest. So reword "Hans von Balthasar explained the context of Christian meditatio" something like "Swiss theologian Hans von Balthasar explained ... "
  • Are so many quotes necessary in Context and structure? It tends to be a WP:QUOTEFARM.
  • For consistency, I have replaced haga with hāgâ. Please check.
  • Jargon: For someone like me, who does not know the details of the Bible; Psalms, Joshua, Romans etc. are jargon. Explicitly say how they relate to the Bible. Also, Book of Joshua is a better usage than Joshua. Same applies to Romans. Romans 10:8 confused me. I related Romans to the Roman people.
  • "According to Jean Leclercq, OSB, the founders of the medieval tradition of Lectio Divina were Saint Benedict and Pope Gregory I in the sixth century." What is Lectio Divina? Why is Jean Leclercq, OSB notable? What is OSB? Jargon alert. Move "a quiet prayerful reading of the Bible" description up or reorganize sections. Explain every jargon term at first instance --Redtigerxyz Talk 14:13, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
  • "Saint Benedict in his Rule (chapter #48)" What Rule, chapter?
  • [citation needed] tags added
  • "Guigo II, a Carthusian monk and prior of Grande Chartreuse in the 12th century." I liked you giving a short description of Guigo, but what is Grande Chartreuse?
  • How is St. Ignatius of Loyola related to Jesuits
  • "at times asking questions from Christ on the cross, during crucifixion." Did you mean "asking questions to Christ". change into active voice for clarity
  • "by Francisco de Osuna" who is he? Also dates like "St. Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)" for all authors in all sections will add context to them.
  • What is # 2705 etc. Catholic church par.

ON HOLD --Redtigerxyz Talk 14:36, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Though I still think that publishers are needed for book references, following international convention, all other issues are resolved and this minor issue does not stop me from passing this article. Congrats. Good work GA PASS. --Redtigerxyz Talk 13:40, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Problems in Eastern Christianity section[edit]

I made some of my own editions. Being Eastern Orthodox myself, I noticed that there was some false or misleading information provided in the section dedicated to Eastern Christian meditation (Section 4.2).

For one, the Christian hesychastic tradition does not use a mantra, and that is even pointed out in Wikipedia's own article on Hesychasm. I edited that part out myself and replaced it with something more accurate and cited some references produced by practitioners of the Orthodox Faith.

Another problem I noticed was that the Jesus Prayer, I think, has been misquoted as being "Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of Living God, have mercy on me". I have never heard the word 'Living' used in that prayer in any of the parishes or monasteries I've ever visited. I didn't edit this text, though, since I do not know if this is a direct quote from the author's cited reference.

I also feel that this section is largely lacking sufficient information. I think it should be expanded to investigate possible differences of practice between the Assyrian, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, and Eastern Rite Catholics, if there are any. A suggestion to visit the Wikipedia article on Hesychasm would also be appropriate here.

Finally, I do believe a promotion of this article up from mid-importance should be considered, since Christian meditation is actually a very important aspect of Eastern Christianity. While the Western Christians may approach the Christian faith from a scholastic angle, the Eastern Christians take a primarily experiential and meditative approach to gaining spiritual enlightenment. One cannot understand Eastern Christianity properly without engaging in the meditative practices it prescribes to some degree.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Nahuatl6 (talkcontribs) 18:43, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

My friend that is what happens when a Roman Catholic writes about Eastern items he does not know about. lease feel free to correct them. History2007 (talk) 19:00, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Missing Information in Section 3 "Approaches to Meditation"[edit]

In section 3, titled "Approaches to Meditation", only Western Post-Great Schism Christian Saints are used in describing approaches to Christian meditation. This is a problem, since meditation plays in central role in the praxis of Eastern Christianity.

I would suggest adding to this section the surviving teachings of such Eastern Christians as St. John Climacus (of the Ladder) and the Ladder of Divine Ascent, St. Gregory of Sinai, St Gregory Palamas, St. Seraphim of Sarov, Evagrius Ponticus, and I would highly encourage paying a lot of attention to the Sayings of the Desert Fathers and St. Anthony the Great, as well as the Philokalia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nahuatl6 (talkcontribs) 19:23, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Please provide a few Google book references here on the talk page so the items you suggest can be cleanly organized before they get added to the page. And please provide a categorization of the approaches of these people. Please also see Christian mysticism and teh talk page there. There is need for improvements on the desert Fathers etc. in both places. I need to do research before I can address the Eastern issues, but your references here and on that other page will probably help start the process. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 04:25, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

sentence in the lede and the accurate portrayal of mantra repetition[edit]

The following sentence from this article, "While some non-Christian and mystic meditations use mantras to block thought and erase concepts, most traditions of Christian meditation are intended to stimulate thought and deepen meaning," isn't exactly accurate. John Dunne, in a speech given at Stanford University, available for viewing online here: http://ccare.stanford.edu/node/21 , says that in Buddhism there is a type of meditation where people will repeatedly bring to mind a concept to become more familiar with it, and then to eventually experience the concept in a more, "visceral," way. So then this type of meditation sounds a bit similar to Christian meditation itself, though I am not an expert on Christian meditation. Anyways, John Dunne actually cites as an example of this Buddhist type of meditation, of familiarizing oneself with a concept, the use of "mantra," repetition. Therefore the use of mantras is not for the purpose of blocking thoughts or erasing concepts, but is more akin to stimulating analysis and familiarization with a concept, with the ultimate goal of experiencing that concept more viscerally. Hope this helps. makeswell (talk) 16:25, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm going to just change it very quickly right now by taking out the bit about mantras completely. If you want to change it some other way then feel very free to do so. makeswell (talk) 16:28, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

pov fest[edit]

So "some branches" have de-emphasized contemplation since the 18th century, and they now refuse to call it "meditation". And lo and behold, "Christian meditation" is now free of mantras and physical austerities, completely different from those New Agey Eastern traditions.

That's probably because you have just removed these elements, which are extremely prevalent in Christian history, simply by redefining the word "meditation" to include only what you would like people to do, and excluding anything you didn't like.

I am sure some people have done this. But that's an opinion, viz. a theological position, not a fact. As an encyclopedia, we report on this opinion, we don't structure our article so that it appears as the only possible view. See also WP:TIGERS, and our poor old idea of WP:NPOV.

As the contemplative prayer article makes clear (as well as the theoria one), the concept opposed to contemplative prayer is methodical prayer. You want to write an article about methodical prayer? Please knock yourself out. But the "Christian meditation" article should obviously take the broad view and discuss meditation practices throughout Christian history, in all Christian denominations. As opposed to being simply based on the most recent communication that came out of the Vatican. Come on, I know we can do better than this. --dab (𒁳) 09:01, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Well, I do not agree, and if you think this is POV fest, then let the discussion begin. I see no references to support your assertions. Please provide here and respect teh prev BRD and discuss without starting a revert cycle. This passed the Good article mark, by the way. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 09:07, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
As Monty Python have taught us, "I do not agree" is not a "discussion".
Did it pass the "Good article mark" while it was saying that meditare meant "to contemplate"? Did anyone with the first clue about this topic ever review it?
The article itself is very much aware of the actual issues. Only, the article topic is hidden away under the section "Denominational issues", while the lead bases itself on "Christian Meditation for Dummies" devotional literature and Vatican missives. You managed to complain that "the assertion at the top is unsourced. So I must ask you, did you read the article? Yes? As far as the "denominational issues" section? Yes? Then which are you unfamiliar with, or with which "cannot you agree", is it WP:LEAD or WP:NPOV? If you are interested in "discussing" this, you might also profit from familiarizing yourself with the referenced material at contemplative prayer and theoria. If you "see no references to support my assertions", I am sorry, this is not my problem, I cannot be expected to come over to your place and beat you with a stick until you can be bothered to look at your screen.
what caught my attention here, before I noted just how fundamentally broken this article is, was the ludicrous claim that "Christian meditation contrasts with cosmic styles of oriental meditation as radically as the portrayal of God the Father in the Bible contrasts with discussions of Krishna or Brahman in Indian teachings". This is pure propaganda. It is just as true as saying "Christian meditation [in our sanitized terminology] contrasts with Christian contemplative prayer, and historical practices of meditation in Christianity, as radically as the portrayal of God the Father in the Bible contrasts with a dish of pasta". Or "as radically as the portrayal of God the Father in some books of the Bible contrasts with the portrayal of God the Father in other books of the Bible". Is it true? Yes. Is it suggestive polemics? Also yes. Is it encyclopedic? You bet it is not. --dab (𒁳) 10:52, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
(ed conf) Of course Monty Python is always the source of all widsom... wink. By the way, the theoria type articles were all hit by a hurricane: please read Talk:Theoria#Multiple_articles_covering_Palamism, as I commented there on January 10th of this year. So I am aware of those articles. And in February of 2010 in Talk:Contemplative_prayer#Article_quality_.26_references I commented on the contemplative prayer article. So I am actually familiar with those articles, but did not do much on the contemplative prayer one, because Alan and others added some items. So I have been actually quite familiar with those articles for a long time. But obviously my knowledge of Monty Python may need touch up. However, given that you started these claims, it is up to you to support them with references and justify them, as I am sure you know. History2007 (talk) 11:05, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
By the way there you go on page 12, last paragraph. History2007 (talk) 11:09, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm, the sub-title of that book is interesting: What the Bible teaches about meditation and spiritual exercises. In other words, the author is ignoring the historical practices in going back to the beginning, like a devotional reformer. He might be accurate about what the Bible says and about how that's different from what the church has practiced, but that doesn't mean we put his opinion in the lead. And do we know that this guy is a good enough authority on Hindu meditation to make this kind of claim anyway? In my experience, Christian preachers often make claims about how Christianity is "not like X" while inaccurately portraying both Christianity and X. Aristophanes68 (talk) 20:55, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Invoking WP:CALM[edit]

May I suggest a reading of WP:CALM and avoiding a revert cycle as we are discussing this. I am going to stop for a while now, but per the BRD and WP:CALM items, please discuss before dramatic actions. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 11:21, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

why do you keep citing books called Christian Meditation? I do not dispute that Christian Meditation is a technical term advocated by some for exactly what you are saying. The problem is that this article isn't called Christian Meditation, or Christian Meditation (Western Christianity), it is called Christian meditation, which I take to mean Meditation in Christianity. If you really want to focus on a tiny sub-topic, the technical term Christian Meditation as used since the 18th century (according to the referenced claim made in this article), I think you have some disambiguating to do.

If you insist that "methodical prayer" is the primary meaning of "Christian meditation", you will need to propose that all material which does not concern methodical prayer must be removed and delegated to an article which actually discusses meditation in Christianity. The claim that "Christian meditation is as different from eastern meditation as God the Father from Krishna" is still unbelievably disingenious, because it suggest there is Christian Meditation(TM) and then there is Eastern or New Agey Meditation, with nothing in between, completely ignoring a millennium of Christian meditation that did indeed use mantras, postures, mortification of the flesh and what have you. There can be no debate about such propaganda taken from devotional literature presented in Wikipedia's voice, and your restoring it puts you on the far end of tendentious editing. If there is anything "dramatic" going on here, there you have it: I spotted a piece of blatant denominationalist propaganda and removed it, then you came along and restored it for no indentifiable reason, and when challenged did not even bother to defend your action. This isn't "dramatic" in my book, it's just regular bad or agenda-driven editing which makes up about 90% of religious stuff on this website, and I am not throwing a fit over it, I am merely pointing out that this is a problem, and you do not seem to be inclined to be part of its solution. --dab (𒁳) 11:34, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Mr Bachmann, I would like to ask for clarification of some of your "non technical" statements.
First: is the statement :
  • "come over to your place and beat you with a stick until you can be bothered to look at your screen."
appropriate? What is the point in that type of statement? What does it achieve? Please clarify this. As it turned out I was fully aware of the other articles and had commented on them. As for reading this article, I actually wrote much of it. Is this statement becoming of a Wikipedia administrator? I think an established administrator has a clear duty to set a good example, and I was surprised to read that. Please clarify why that type of statement is necessary.
Second: Please clarify your statement that:
  • if you "see no references to support my assertions", I am sorry, this is not my problem.
Please clarify which Wikipedia policies makes it not a problem to make assertions sans references. Is there one? References are the bedrock of WP:V. Are they not? Hence how can an established administrator say that not having references is "not a problem"? Again, I think it is the duty of an administrator to set a good example by respecting WP:V. Is that right?
Third: Please clarify your statement that I am "the far end of tendentious editing". Exactly how is that statement justified? I had only made 2 edits to the article. One was using my absolute right by WP:BRD to revert a major totally unreferenced change and ask for a discussion. How is the tendentious editing after one edit? The second edit was an objection based on the first BRD and your unilateral change of the definition of the article title, without a reference as a support. And as it turned out your edit was double reverted anyway. Why is that type of statement made?
Fourth: Please clarify how your statement that I "do not seem to be inclined to be part of its solution." fits in the framework of WP:AGF afetr just 4 talk page edits by me, one of which was an initial comment, the other clarified the other articles and the third provided a reference. The 4th was a WP:CALM statement. I am sure you are familiar with WP:AGF. Hence given that the discussion had just started, why was that statement necessary?
I order to make progress in this discussion, please clear the air by clarifying the situation and provide answers to the above questions. Final question: Is a personal apology to me a good idea? I will address the technical issues once the air has cleared on these questions. History2007 (talk) 23:03, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
The material about the differences from Eastern traditions doesn't belong in the lead, so I removed it. The lead should focus more on what Christian meditation--historically and in broad terms--IS. I left the passage about the Pope's warning, though my sense is that that information also belongs elsewhere in the article. Aristophanes68 (talk) 20:48, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Actually Aristophanes, I see no problem with your edit. And the Aspects/Vatican item is best moved to a new section, now that the Edmund P. Clowney comparative item is no longer there. So we can do that later, or you can make a separate section for it now, if you like. History2007 (talk) 23:03, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Now, 7 days have passed since the May 19 comments and there have been no further discussions. So I expanded the history section to further clarify issues, and I also started a few new pages for devotio moderna, Guigo I, Jan Mombaer etc. since they related to the clarifications. I will expand those pages later, specially devotio moderna that deserves more info in its own right. Given that we have seen no referenced support for the placement of tags on the top of this article, unless specific items are presented with references, the tags can not stay there indefinitely and we will have to remove them in a few days. History2007 (talk) 20:41, 26 May 2011 (UTC)