Saturday, March 14, 2009

Don't Tell The Christians...?

The choir director at the methodist church is friendly, and recently he asked me what I had been up to. So I told him about numerous things, including the new zen group. He flushed a bit and whispered, "Don't tell the Christians around here about that."

My wife added, "Keep that under your hat."

A lot of people down-talk Deming, as if this place were full of ignorant villagers who burn people at the stake. I have not really found this to be so, though I am new in town...

Still, I am confident there is no scripture anywhere telling the faithful it is a sin to sit on a pillow and breathe for half an hour. It is true that I do some Buddhist chanting before sitting, but I let people know they are quite welcome to skip that and avoid my singing voice. It is fine to join me for sitting only. I come from a place where Christian-Buddhist retreats are common events, so I regard this fear and conservatism as a bit silly.

Of course I'm not keeping it under my hat. It's not a venereal disease, it's a natural activity that is part of many Christians' practice. While I am not wearing a billboard, of course, I will let people know that it's happening if they ask me.

Frankly, I doubt it's as controversial as my friend was making it. But who knows?

Now, if you'll excuse me, some people are knocking on my door. And one of them has rope. I wonder what this is about...


Kelly said...

First of all, I was quite drawn to the cute little piece of clipart you used for this post! I know... I'm a little odd at times.

I'm a Methodist and I don't feel threatened by your Buddhist beliefs or practices. Then again, that might be because I'm quite firmly rooted in my Christian beliefs. Yes, I do believe it is part of my mission in life to share my faith and hopefully draw others to Christ, but certainly not by means that would turn them off or push them farther away. Besides, ignoring other religions and their practices doesn't make them go away or cease to exist!

I'm sure I would enjoy one of your sitting sessions as long as you didn't mind me skipping the chanting part and focusing on my own prayers while meditating.

I'll let you know if I'm ever in the Deming area!

Algernon said...

You'd be welcomed with celebrations.

MarionL said...

Me, too. I'm more Taoist/Christian than Zen, but a firm believer in open-minded sitting and breathing nice and slowly. That makes 3 of us!

It reminds me of when my oldest daugher "came out" for Obama early in the campaign. She lives in redneck country and is a teacher in a very Republican oriented school. She slapped an Obama bumper sticker on her BIG 4 wheel drive truck and dared anyone to make a derogatory comment. All her teacher friends warned her that she'd catch crap. Turns out she got nothing but respect and a few whispers in her ear of "Me, too". I'm Republican and for some reason lately I wince when I say that, but I raised both of my children to be open-minded and independent. Looks like it worked. Take that freakin' hat off and be who you are. Life is short.

Debby said...

Ooh. Sore point. There's been a huge hullabaloo about the practice of reiki in conjunction with cancer treatment. You know, it is what it is. The reiki practitioners here just patiently reiterated their points, stressed that this in no way negated Jesus Christ. After awhile, like water wearing down a rock, the hard headed folks simply calmed down. I don't imagine that the Methodists there are any more hard headed than the Methodists here. By the way, I am a Methodist.

Debby said...

Oh, and PS...I'm pretty sure that we have not stoned anyone in the parking lot in quite some time, but if you see folks showing up armed with stones, you may want to wave your cute Gabriel in front of them, and make your escape while they drop their stones and begin to ooh and aah as he speaks baby babble at them.