A post-modern map of faith
As the old saying goes, “If the map doesn’t agree with the ground, then the map is wrong.” In the world of Radha-Krishna devotion, truer words haven’t been said in a while. The time has finally come for creation of a new map.
The world has changed and is constantly changing. Long gone are the times of desert prophets, runaway princes seeking deliverance, heroes of the impossible, gods and goddesses of fables. They helped ancient humans imagine the world and form their belief systems using metaphors and language available at the time, and yet, we often ask ourselves what makes persons today cling to those ancient beliefs as if they were a matter of life and death?
Are we unable to express our own faith today, in contemporary language and a modern understanding of the world? Do we indeed need to believe the unbelievable to have faith? Incredible miracles of old have seemingly stepped aside to give place to incredible advances of science, but does that mean our spirituality is in conflict with science and a progressive world view?
They don’t have to be, and we don’t need to be torn apart between our life today and ancient beliefs. We just need to express our faith in the new context and language, on a new stage with some of the old actors—for humanity still faces perils that ignite the core of spirituality: profound unhappiness, poverty, wars, exploitation, environmental threat, the insatiable feeling we can reach more and that this world can be a better place.
Using the favorite traditional Indian fable of Radha and Krishna and its myth as a canvas, Steve Bohlert, through Universalist Radha-Krishnaism: A Spirituality of Liberty, Truth and Love, masterfully draws a relevant, contemporary map of faith. To many a mention of India’s favorite God Krishna and his consort Radha invokes an image of yet another Bollywood spectacle, monks dancing in streets and airports, or of a guru feeding the audience with endless scriptural citations and old superstitions posing as scientific facts.
But, the contrary is true with Steve Bohlert. His unique life’s experience, as both an itinerant Hindu monk and a Christian pastor of contemporary thinking, helps today’s open-minded reader unveil profound meaning in myths where there appears to be none left, especially for today’s audience.
Universalist Radha-Krishnaism is a spiritual journey and a modern synthesis like you have seldom seen before, and never in this unique context. It’s a bridge between the East and West, past and present, old and new. Continuing in the tradition of progressive, prolific western thinkers like John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, Joseph Campbell, Paul Tillich, and science visionaries like David Bohm, together with India’s own luminaries like Kedarnath Bhaktivinode Thakur, Steve Bohlert adds new acts in an ever unfolding play of human self-discovery and its relationship to the divine.
“If there’s ever been a time to re-imagine the world we’re in and our faith along with it—by making them both better, more congruent, and more meaningful—it is now,” Steve would say. And, he certainly shows us how to do that. The language is new, the stage is the world of today with all its threats and immense possibilities. New chapters are about to be written, and you’re invited to participate in the play of a more meaningful and beautiful than ever Radha- Krishna.
— Zvonimir Tosic