Eugene Cho

the dalai lama and seeds of compassion

If you’re from Seattle or have interest in religious/spiritual matters, you know that the Dalai Lama is in Seattle for Seeds of Compassion.  I hear that he’s busy so it likely won’t work out for he and I to have some chat over coffee or tea.  According to the Seattle PI:

Organizers of the Seeds of Compassion conference say the purpose of the long-planned Seattle gathering, which will be attended by more than 150,000 people, is nurturing compassion in children and those who influence them.

Panel discussions through Tuesday will focus on different compassion-related topics: science, children, philanthropy, business and spirituality.

So, I’ve got couple questions to ask for hopefully, some good discussion:

  • I knows Christian acquaintances that have been invited to join a group of speakers, presenters, and panelists.  Would you [as a Christian, pastor, or some sort of visible leader] accept an invitation to speak at this sort of “Spiritual” event that featured people like the Dalai Lama and other Hindu, Islamic, and Sikh leaders?  Why or why not?
  • Questers, would you be concerned if I, your pastor, spoke at Seeds of Compassion and shared the same stage as these other religious leaders?

For the record, if I was invited [and I wasn’t], I would first get the green light from my fellow Elders at Quest Church because I would be representing the church and I want to make sure it’s ok with them.  Secondly, I’d be cool with participating and speaking as long as it was clear that I’d be introduced as a Christian pastor and given freedom to appropriately bear witness to Jesus while of course, demonstrating respect to others.

Thoughts?

Filed under: religion

11 Responses

  1. Patrick says:

    I’m actually surprised that you weren’t invited to participate in some way. I wouldn’t have any problems with you as my pastor being involved with the caveat that you would have an opportunity to honestly represent your church and your faith in Christ.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Compassion is important for everyone – Christian or nonChristian. I wouldnt feel any different than if it were an event talking about the need for affordable housing, or clean water.

  3. Randall says:

    All religions are NOT different paths leading to the same destination or different ways of saying the same thing. Differences between religions exist on many levels and should not be dismissed as trivial.

    That said, I think inter-faith dialogue and collaboration is a beautiful thing – something that doesn’t happen nearly enough. Despite all of our differences (which again, shouldn’t be minimized) we do share some common goals – helping the poor and needy, caring for the elderly, taking care of the earth, and compassion, just to name a few – so why shouldn’t we work together or at least share ideas about how to deal with them?

    PE, I would be stoked if you spoke at a conference like this because I know that you would not water down the truth claims of Jesus (John 14:6) – Jesus is the only way to the Father but he’s not the only way to deal with poverty and injustice.

    I also find it tremendously encouraging to see that you would have cleared such a speaking engagement with your elders first (and I hope they would’ve given you the go ahead).

  4. Kacie says:

    Wouldn’t it be a bit like Paul speaking with other philosophers in… uhh… Corinth I think it was? Can’t remember. Although those are technically spiritual leaders, in our society it’s also a philosophical dialogue.
    Kacie

  5. Dennis says:

    I’d push back just a little here. During these kind of conversations, I find that you need to “check” your faith convictions at the door and I think one should carefully examinye what you are saying “indirectly” by participating. Seeds of compassion is focused on compassion so I think that’s ok but other inter-spiritual gatherings are focused on pushing for universalism and if that’s the case, I’d be very worried if my pastor chose to participate in that.

  6. Ben says:

    I ain’t worried – go handle your business.

  7. Linda says:

    Ditto with Patrick, Jennifer, and Randall. The purpose “is nurturing compassion in children and those who influence them.” That includes a Christian pastor.

  8. Paul says:

    Why is this even an issue? Why should proving someone else “wrong” be necessary in order to prove your faith “right”? Why should listening to someone else’s viewpoint lessen your own viewpoint?

    Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, our (Lutheran) church invited a Muslim spiritual teacher to talk to us about what Islam is, and isn’t, all about. We all gained an understanding of our neighbors, and it didn’t make us any less “Christian.”

    When Thich Nhat Han published the wonderful book “Living Buddha, Living Christ,” outlining the similarities between Buddhism and Christianity, I don’t believe it made him any less of a Buddhist.

    So, my answer is: Talk to your neighbors, and listen to your neighbors.

  9. abe says:

    H.H. The Dalai Lama is not just about Buddhism, he is about Humanity. There is nothing wrong with you being about the same thing.

  10. ronpai says:

    Hi Eugene,
    I live in Bellingham, work with Baron Miller, and know Wayne Park. There is my 2-3 degrees of seperation. I asked a question over at my blog *plug* that is quite similar to this one. I wonder why Christians are not jumping on this wagon even more. It seems natural. Wasn’t Jesus’ message filled with compassion? hmmm.

  11. joanne says:

    ive been waiting for this topic to come up all week since my family and i will be going… i would have loved my pastor and church to have been represented at tomorrows events! i also agree with “paul” and “abes” comments….
    i dont think my children will be learning anything new or different that they arnt already from jesus’ teachings, so im not worried:) this shouldnt be an issue:) though i am very interested in anyone who opposes attending and why….

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Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer. Seattle. 7:00pm. Desperately holding on to summer. #goldengardenpark #nofilter

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