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Why Mandala?

The following is a transcript of Leigh Bortins answering the questions, “What is Mandala Fellowship?” and “Why did she choose to use terms that have pagan roots?” You can listen to the entire interview in the Leigh! @ Lunch archives here.

The thing I love most about being a Christian is that it is all about the wedding feast with Christ, and we need to practice partying all that we can. So we celebrate a lot. We do that through good words, good works, good music—nice fellowship with one another. That’s why Mandala is a fellowship.

I prayed for weeks over naming Mandala fellowship, because I know the Christian community could misrepresent it because of some of the words we are choosing. Pagans have usurped all the best words, and I’m not going to let them do it anymore. So we will recover these ideas and bring them into harmony.

Mandala is a very old Sanskrit word, probably older than any Hebrew word. It means the convergence of complexity with unity. That’s what we are going to study. This mathematical concept of mandala is represented in all cultures, in all times, in very beautiful forms. The simplest one is the kaleidoscope, but think about rose windows in cathedrals, Japanese peace gardens, and Buddhist temple carpets, as well as every single plant and flower that blooms. The complex shape within a circular shape is mandala. That’s how that is represented artistically. It is expressed in Romans 1:20, where it says, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” So we are going to study the arts by studying what has been made, because we want harmony and astronomy to be recovered—because they have been usurped by chaos and astrology. We are going to put them back in their proper place.

We’ll take some hits at first for some of the words we use, until folks understand what we’re really trying to accomplish. We aren’t trying to become less Christian, or more Unitarian. We’re trying to actually become more Christian and to recover all of creation as the Lord’s realm. We really want to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ. We use that word without really thinking. When you are an ambassador, you can go anywhere and the land underneath your feet belongs to the country you represent. That is why you don’t have to follow the laws of where you are.

As ambassadors for Christ, everywhere our feet stand is a little piece of heaven. We can claim it all for ourselves; we don’t need to be afraid of anything around us, because we know whom we are diplomats for. Those are the kinds of ideas that make me strive to want to understand astronomy, not just what’s here right on earth, but how earth fits into the whole dance with all the planets. I want my children to understand they are studying math not because they’ll get a good job—which I hope happens, I want them to be able to pay for my grandkids’ food and shelter—but they are really doing it because it is a way to glorify God by understanding how creation works. I want them to just say, “Hey, that’s really neat. There must be a Designer.”

CATEGORIES: Articles, Big Ideas: Truth, Beauty, Goodness and more!, Classical Christian Education, College and Post Graduation

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