“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.” ~ Denis Waitley
Today was… Sensational? Inspired? Fantastic? Enlightened? They’re all deficient in describing the hour-long talk by Father Joe Mitchell (above) at the annual Pisgah Academy. I attended with Marcie Christiansen and one of her three sisters, Jeanne. Now in its fifth year, Pisgah Academy is an event held at Pisgah Presbyterian Church to help nurture a more compassionate society. As this year’s keynote, Fr. Joe was tasked with comparing Christianity and Buddhism and how they, at their cores, are designed to guide us on the path of compassionate living. Fr. Joe delivered one of the most brilliant talks I’ve ever heard. Period. But what he said went far beyond doctrine. He provided clarity and direction; from basic morality to caring for the planet. Neither Jesus nor Buddha talked about caring for the Earth. They talked about compassion for ourselves, for our neighbors, friends, strangers, refugees, the sick, the elderly, the least among us, and so on, but they never said anything about the planet we live on because there wasn’t an issue to talk about. The human race remained connected to the planet, our food sources, the water that sustains us, the animals, and so forth. Like many political and social issues that have arisen over the millenniums since Jesus and Buddha lived, our religious doctrines have been challenged to evolve accordingly. If the planet was facing rising CO2 emissions when Jesus was alive he would have addressed it. It wasn’t, so he didn’t. But we face it now. Doctrinal evolution addressing such emerging issues is necessary in keeping with a compassionate way of living that both Christianity and Buddhism prescribe. As a spiritual community we must evolve, and so must our doctrines. It was a pivotal day for me in some ways. I had many, many lightbulb moments. I hope whatever you did today turned on your lightbulbs, too.