Buddhist Quakers... (arguing isn't a requirement)

I was listening to NPR late last night and heard mention of a "Quaker Buddhist." I didn't have time to write down the name referenced (nor have I gone onto Oregon Public Broadcasting's website to try to find it) but I found this fascinating blog, dedicated to exploring the intersections of Quaker Christian spirituality, and Buddhism...

It reminds me of my readings of The Good Heart, the Dalai Lama's teachings on Jesus. The book really revolves around a Buddhist-Christian dialogue and includes both the parallels and divergences of each spiritual worldview. A great read!

Something the Dalai Lama says in the book resonates with me. He said: "If after reading this book, a Christian says, 'I want to be a Buddhist,' then I have failed. I will have been successful if the Christian says, 'I want to be a better Christian.'"

How gracious! In seminary class on prayer and reconciliation, one classmate said, "My friend says she believes in Buddhism. I just can't be okay with that. I can say that I agree with her about some things, but I have to point out where her beliefs contradict Scripture..."

Really? As a Christian, we HAVE to point out what's wrong with other belief systems? We have to point out our differences to feel comfortable? I know, I know. I grew up as a militant evangelical. I know how that little Jesus Soldier pops up in the gut. But that's not really Jesus.

As Christians, we are not obligated to argue. Wow, does that feel freeing? Did you just experience a weight lifted off your shoulders? I did. Whew. It's beautiful to know I can have spiritual friendships with folks - and I don't have to be an asshole. What if I actually learned something true from someone of another religion? What if Jesus is speaking through Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Star Trek Fans? Suddenly the world gets a lot more interesting...


Cameron said...

The real question is, "Can a person be a fan of Star Trek and a follower of Jesus at the same time?"
Beam me up Jesus...er,Scotty.

Al said...

Pete, you KNOW I totally agree with you on this. Somewhere we got the idea that there are extra credits for being a jerk! That God somehow blesses us more when we are persecuted for stirring up trouble. That we are called to alienate everyone.
Thanks for giving us permission to be like Jesus (loving, relational, kind--except to closed-minded religious types).

Sarah said...

Hey Peter... been crazy-busy and am just now catching up on your blog. Interesting stuff going on.

But hey, while Jesus was totally loving, relational, and kind, don't lose sight of the fact that He also called a spade a spade... He spent a lot of time arguing with the Pharisees, threw the money-grubbing guys out of the temple, told people basically to suck it up and do the work, and let a lot of people walk away when the price was too much for them to pay.

It's easy to get caught up in the warm, happy feelings that Jesus's love invokes. But it is important to remember... critical, even... that Jesus was both fully love and fully truth as well. He was, and is, uncompromising. And while He does not in any way command us to head out and start stuffing His words down people's throats, He does definitely command us to take a stand for Truth. He is absolutely the only way to get to God.

...still have a few more entries to read. Might hear from me again... thanks for writing.

Steph said...

By that argument (only way to get to God) most of the world is stuffed (unsaved). Would this be an all knowing, all loving God. What if each of us could know God. And that's it. The outward knowing is a framework that lots of things can hang off - including a need to be on the only 'right' team. We stand by ourselves not our affiliation to doctrine. That's why the Dalai Lama can be gracious and see his 'God' in Jesus. And we can be gracious and see our God in his faith. The one way is the internal knowing between us and God - everything else is impermanent. That includes churches and doctrines. Or most of the world can never be close to God - do you believe that? Give God a chance to be more than a cruel disowner of 'non-believers' - you might be enchanted in the other layers out there to discover. All cultures, all faiths, all belief systems are roads for those whose heart is on the right track. If it's not, none of them are. It's the intent that matters before the outward form. That's not something you can fake - much less popular but more permanent and rewarding. That's when you discover 'like' intent - wherever you find it- and treasure it for that. A heart open to God - not closed to others who are not the same - a mind that believes what is given not taken. And forgives and understands smaller steps along the way - but doesn't allow them to stand in the way for themselves or others. There is no judgement here but love. Is it done with compassion and kindness? And Star Trek had some great moments - a black woman in a place ahead of her time (so to speak); a choosing to honour those who are different and not destroy just because of difference... It's all about choice and intent. Where would God's love most be needed in this world today? Are those places without it even now? Are all cultures and all places that are different without God or love? What does it take for us to recognise the work of spirit in other places. Just the words they say? We might be missing seeing God even now - as the Pharisees did. Every person who chooses to do good not harm, at any time, is evidence of a relationship to spirit and God's love around us. The very knowledge of what can grow and what can destroy must come from an inner relationship of spirit. You have God on every streetcorner and every temple, mosque and every child on a street or hillside.

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