Buenos Aires, Argentina
Doves and robins filled the ether with their precious sounds. Threes perspire (at least some), and drop rain even on a clear day. This is rather remarkable. There will not be a cloud in the sky and yet all this moisture drops from these massive trees lining the streets of Buenos Aires.
Fortunately this day is over-cast. It's also a day to pack up, give good byes to old and new friends and get a little mentally prepared for the flight back to Canada. I managed to squeeze in a measly three kilometres walking. It would have been more but as I embarked on a projected one hour of leg work, I was approached by a Portuguese photographer on assignment for some magazine. He was fascinated by the image of a monk and took quite the time in his perfectionism to go for the right backdrop of a portrait shot.
"Oh well," I figured, "if the photo gets published it will be a promotion for monasticism."
By evening I was grounded at the Buenos Aires Airport until flight time. A guy, Christopher, in his early thirties and who resides in Iowa, came to chat. I had a feeling he was going to go in the direction of evangelist schpeil. Sure enough. It began with first time niceities and then the Christian trump-card was played when giving me the ultimate "only way" line. He wanted my opinion.
"The problem with Absolutist statements is that it creates an exclusive, rather than inclusive, environment. If Christ wanted us to love our neighbour as much as ourselves then friendship should be sustained through commonality. Wouldn't you agree that loving God is of prime importance, that family, community and declaring war on drugs, pornography and other self centered habits are issues we share. Where you have a Jesus line about 'love' we have an equal message in sacred books like the Gita."
I would say Christopher intended to dominate the conversation. I let him have his space and I hope compassionately. Graciously he allowed for a two-way. I suggested that God is the source of all sperm and that He has more than one son, since He is the father of all. We both raised more points. For the most part it was a congenial exchange. I mentioned to him I appreciated his kind forwardness in talking to me and his resoluteness towards Jesus.
"Consider me your neighbour while I have a conviction to Krishna and please come and visit me in Toronto." He began extolling the glories of what started in the nineties as 'the Toronto Blessing", an evangelical healing movement located near the city's airport. Again, I appealed to Christopher to capture the essence of sacred statements and to not let walls divide spiritual seekers. It's a long journey to get home and we might just need each other to get there.