Respecting religious and cultural differences

Recently I received an interesting and rather amusing email from an endearing young friend who enjoys being an active member of a Christian Church, but has an interest in other religions. With his permission, I would like to share some of its contents.

G’day Wendy,

As I am sure you are already aware. Many people of faith are against having anything to do with another faith, and sometimes even learning about another faith.

Not long ago, there was a tree-planting day at the local Buddhist temple, which was organised by the Council. I thought it would be a nice thing to do so I decided to go along to help. When I arrived, I was surprised to find that I was the only Caucasian and non-Buddhist person at the event. Three professional photographers photographed me as I planted the trees. In my mind, I could see a big picture of myself planting trees posted in the newspaper. What would my church say? I really didn’t expect to be the centre of attention at such an event.

I look back now and think it’s pretty funny that I thought it would be a situation where I would blend in. I enjoyed planting the trees and while I was there, I mixed with Buddhist members and learnt some basic meditation, which I found really interesting.

Although I have my own favourite religion, I have an open mind when it comes to others. I think many have a lot to offer us. I think a general approach to the religion is more important than specifics, and I find many express similar ideas but just in different ways.