A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

How do we advocate our beliefs?

Competitive Conversion

A Catholic priest, a Southern Baptist preacher, and a Jewish rabbi all served as chaplains to the students of Northern Michigan University in Marquette .

They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop.

One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn’t really all that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear. One thing led to another, and they decided to do an experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it.

Seven days later, they all came together to discuss their experiences.

Father Flannery, who had his arm in a sling, was on crutches, and had various bandages on his body and limbs, went first. “Well,” he said, “I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him, I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary, Mother of God, he became as gentle as lamb. The bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation.”

Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, had one arm and both legs in casts, and had an IV drip. In his best fire-and-brimstone oratory, he claimed, “WELL, brothers, you KNOW that we don’t sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear.

And then I began to read to my bear from God’s HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So I quickly DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praising Jesus.”

The priest and the reverend both looked down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IVs and monitors running in and out of him. He was in really bad shape.

The Rabbi looked up and said, “Looking back on it, circumcision may not have been the best way to start.”

A friend passed along this joke, and asked me where a Buddhist monk would fit in. I gave him the answer, the monk would accept the bear as a bear, and not try to change him. However it got me to thinking, about how we promote our beliefs. Regardless of which path you follow, the best message we can deliver, is living our life according to the beliefs we claim to follow.

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3 thoughts on “How do we advocate our beliefs?

  1. Love the story Keith. Curious about your connection to NMU as I’m an Alum.

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