Learning about Buddhism makes me appreciate a universal people that are hungry for more! More loving kindness towards one another; more compassion for the poor; more sympathy for the marginalized and socially degraded; and more intentionality to overcome economic exploitation in a global community! It is refreshing to know that amongst the differences in Christianity and Buddhism, commonalities exist. I recall the words of life spoken by a chief monk we visited today, “There are good points among religions.” One thing seems to ring true . . . whether in Shawnee, Kansas, or Yangon, Myanmar, to quote Dr. Maya Angelou, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”
Throughout this pilgrimage, I’ve interacted with different and unique people, sharing knowledge and having interfaith dialogues. The more we seem to interact, the more commonalities we seem to share. Buddhists practice 3 basic principles: charity, morality (5 precepts: abstain from killing living beings, stealing, committing adultery, and drinking intoxicating drinks/consuming drugs), and meditation. Christians have a passion to give to the needy/poor, follow the Ten Commandments, and believe in the power of prayer! In our practices we seek a deeper relationship with our God!
In each religion we see people that are living out their call, following the principles of their religion, and willing to make great sacrifices to carry out the mission of their god! We see people that seek more and those that have more. Matthew 25:29 – To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Consider for a moment the “more” you need in your life to carry out the mission of Christ! If you are seeking “more” or have “more,” what will you or are you doing with it? Is it possible that finding commonality in people amongst different religions could be the very thing that grants us access to closer relationship with a universal God? As we find similarities amongst the different people in our own households, our churches, our community, and the world; are we intentional about finding commonalities? Next time you encounter someone of difference, ask them “What ‘more’ are you looking for?”
From early on in life my desire has been to follow God and serve Him in any capacity that was available to me. My grandparents, who actively involved me in the spiritual life of our family, raised me in a Christian household.
I accepted Christ as my personal savior when I was nine years old. As a teenager I felt a strong, consuming desire to do more with my life, especially as it related to life within the staging church. After much prayer and spiritual counseling, I answered the call to preach when I was 16 and delivered my first sermon when I was 17, becoming the fourth generation of pastors/ministers in my family. Eventually, my responsibilities within the staging church increased. I have served as Youth Minister, Associate Minister, Assistant Pastor, Interim Pastor, and Senior Pastor in churches in Missouri and Texas.