Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dalai Lama in Seattle

The Dalai Lama is here in Seattle this week. The events surrounding his visit are on the front page of the local newspapers each day and are also appearing in the national press. Yesterday, 50,000 people came to Qwest Field (the stadium where the Seattle Seahawks football team plays) to hear him speak. According to an Associated Press report:

"He urged people to use nonviolent dialogue to resolve problems — whether at the family, community, national or global level, saying the 21st century should be the "century of dialogue."

Nonviolence is not just the absence of violence, he said, but facing problems with determination, vision and a wider perspective, while "deliberately resisting using force."

To do that, "external disarmament" is needed, he said, advocating elimination of all nuclear weapons.

But people also need "inner disarmament" — to not let emotions like suspicion and fear take control. To achieve that, simply praying or meditating isn't enough, he said. Compassion has to be promoted."

Hmmm. This all sounds strangely familiar. Where have I heard this before? Oh yes, Jesus. And the Apostles. And Francis of Assisi. And the Anabaptists. And the Quakers. And Leo Tolstoy. And Gandhi. And Martin Luther King. And Mother Teresa. The message is tried and true.

It's a shame that Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians are not known for promoting this message. Rather (and I'm painting with a broad brush here), the messages from Evangelicalism have tended to be about support for war (or, in the case of John Hagee and his ilk, outright promotion of war), exclusion of gay people, anger against Liberals in government, etc. Evangelical leaders in the Seattle area ("Dr." Ken Hutcherson comes to mind) are best known for anti-gay rallies and for bully tactics, not for promoting compassion, nonviolence and dialog.

Seattle supposedly has the fewest church attenders of any city in America. Yet, 50,000 people went to a stadium to hear a Tibetan Buddhist monk speak about compassion. Perhaps we Christians have been sending the wrong message.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well observed Brother! May God help us all to be a dedicated follower of Jesus. Our world would be a much better place.

3:27 PM  

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