Sunday, July 10, 2011

What church do you go to?

My wife and I had a garage sale on Saturday and we did pretty well. As things were winding down, a neighbor from two blocks down stopped by. He was in his late 40s, dressed casually, with a t-shirt that read: "Tim, The Man, The Myth, The Legend." I was going to tell him that my father-in-law has the same shirt--his says, "Poppy"--but thought better of it.

Later, when I mentioned Tim's shirt to my wife, she chuckled. "What?" I asked.

She shook her head. "He tried to get me to come to his church."

What! I did a double take. "Huh? How did he do that?"

"Well, he introduced himself and then asked me what church we went to."

Talk about spiritual pickup lines! What a way to entice non-religious folk, or poach Christians: "Oh, you should come to our church!"

"So what did you say?" I asked, leaning closer.

"I told him we were Buddhists."


"He said, 'Really?' Like he didn't get that reply often."

He probably didn't. I'm sure he had his share of stock replies for Christians and non-Christians alike, but not for Buddhists. At least other religions believed in God. Don't an idol?

We live in a Judeo-Christian nation, and the average assumption is that either you subscribe to one of the major theistic religions or are an atheist. Buddhists don't really fit into these categories.

Deciding to raise my children Buddhist has really awakened me to the prevalence of these expectations and the public's overall ignorance regarding Buddhism.

I can't help but hope that some time in the near future there will be fewer reactions like Tim's about Buddhists. Like I said in a few posts ago, I think we need to kick start a cultural revolution in this country. And Buddhism is just the way to do it.

Photo borrowed from Creative Commons flickr user: Eastlaketimes.


  1. "cultural revolution in this country" I think your absolutely right. There is so much hate, jealousy, envy and "I'm lost" feelings that a major change is needed. Forcing someone to change is obviously not the answer but one person at a time will start a ripple effect. I believe I'm part of that ripple and am glad I am caught in it.

  2. Let's start some waves! Thanks for reading, Sierra.