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A reader writes ...

Dear Brian I once had the enormous privilege of meeting legendary basketball Coach John Wooden when I happened to exchange pulpits with the pastor of his congregation in LA. Amongst other things, he said to me, "Listen neither to praise nor to criticism. Only you know how well you have really done". My preface is stated because, as a minister (in the UK), I know both praise and criticism and, though I've learnt various responses to criticism I've become quite skeptical of praise. Yet, here I am, about to praise you (and thank you) no end!

I have read so many of your books that you have become something of a mentor to me as I evolve spiritually, pastorally and theologically through the years. Today, having pondered the various coloured lines weaving around the cover of my copy of "A new kind of Christianity", I was unsure of the reasons behind the design. Now I have just now read chapter 20: "How can we translate our quest into action?" and all has become clear.

Wow! I mean WOW!!! Jesus is the light of the whole world, in the world's / history's / humanity's / religion's full spectrum, and within the full spectrum of colours within the White light of "God". Dear Brian, I have tears in my eyes as I write this!

Shortly I am to share a lecture in my church with [a man who] happens to be Buddhist. Suddenly I can articulate why as a Christian I just have a feeling of Oneness with this [man]. It's because as Christian and Buddhist we ARE one - in the wide spectrum of light / enlightenment.

Thank you SO much.

My praise may slip by you unnoticed.
It may swell your ego.
It may bounce off you skeptically.
It may bow your knee in humility.
Whatever.
It is most sincerely offered from a heart filled with thanks because of the tremendous blessing that your work is to me. THANKYOU. I wish you to sense how well you have done - for me.
God bless you dear brother in Christ and humanity.

Thanks for these encouraging words. I take them to heart and am humbled that I've been able to be of service to you in any way. I hope readers of this blog will see that you're not saying, "as Christian and Buddhist we are exactly the same."

If we're exactly the same, we're redundant and don't have differing gifts to offer one another. But you realize how our differences are real and important. Differences don't have to be divisions.

So you're seeing a larger story or reality that has room for differences. That larger story doesn't say that our differences don't matter. It doesn't ignore the problems or errors or harmful dimensions of those differences - or similarities for that matter (and it's in our similarities that I think our deepest problems lie). All this is central to the thrust of my upcoming book.http://brianmclaren.net/archives/books/brians-books/why-did-jesus-moses-the-buddha-a.html If Muslims or Christians or Hindus or Jews or atheists or whoever don't have room for the other in their story ... if "they" are unwanted intruders who are taking up space that should be for "us," then hatred and violence will result. For you and me as Christians, we see Jesus model a desire to move toward the other as neighbor ... as in the story of the Good Samaritan, to cross the road to encounter, love, and serve the other.