Q: My present spiritual advisors perceive Christianity and Buddhism as basically incompatible, principally because of the Buddhist idea of the Void. As a Christian with Buddhist training, I’ve never considered this a problem. Could you elaborate briefly on the compatibility or incompatibility of Christian ideas of the Divine (personal God) and the Buddhist concept of the Void? — J.P., Michigan

A: +Dear J.P., the God space is so vast that different space missions may bring back seemingly contradictory reports. When we speak of God, we should expect such paradoxes as fullness and emptiness. In fact, since all the opposites arise from God and are one in God, we should be suspicious of any God talk that is not paradoxical.

From early on, Christian theology has been aware that whatever we say about God, no matter how true, falls infinitely short of the full truth. (This strand of theology is called Negative or Apophatic Theology.) The emptiness of which Buddhists speak is, paradoxically, also the source of all fullness.

Don’t try to correct your spiritual advisors. Just add in your own mind what is missing. In controversies, as has been observed, most people are correct in what they affirm, but wrong in what they deny.

— Your Brother David

Br. David Steindl-RastTrust