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13 December 2011


Jay Furst

Thanks for the comments. Regarding Sara's column, I don't think the purpose of the column was to say that the class was presented in a misleading way; her main point was that yoga is generally antithetical to her Christian faith (and by extension, Christian faith). That's a fairly uncommon view, but I think it can be expressed in a way that doesn't put down people of other faiths, claim "idolatry," etc. If I had edited the column, I would have asked Sara to rephrase a few points and avoid unnecessary offense -- I don't believe she intended to offend anyone -- but on the whole, it was an interesting piece.
Again, her column was a "guest column," not the weekly Pulpit column, where we give area pastors an opportunity to repurpose a sermon and share their faith perspectives. Those Pulpit columns are generally from pretty "traditional" and "conservative" Christian points of view, week after week, which is fine.
I think it's important that columns on the faith page are sensitive, though, to the diversity of religious faiths among our readers, and that we don't allow people of one faith to put down those of another.


Thank you for your column today regarding the apparent problems some had with the earlier "yoga column." As you note, the headline was probably more inflammatory than it should have been and was not at all the choice of the author. Perhaps there could have been some more modifiers to sentences like the one you note that includes the term "idolatry." However, yoga as a spiritually based system (as one of those critical of the column conceds) would be well within the definition of that term within traditional Christianity.

It seems that the purpose of Ms. Schleicher's column is to point out that the class she enrolled in was indeed a spiritual discipline and the instructor seemed to inculcate this in those who attended. The problem, I think from reading this, is that the spiritual dimensions were initially masked, perhaps deceptively, in a more simplistic explanation that the class only involved physical exercise.

As I understand from reading this column each week, the intent is to give expression to a wide variety of beliefs, many of which are not widely shared. Ms. Schleicher's concern is that others who share her faith might be misled by those yoga classes that retain their spiritual roots while passing themselves off as something else. Is expression of such concern off limits to this column only because it is coming from a "traditional," or "conservative" Christian point of view? I hope not.

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