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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