Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Perfect Christmas Gift

Okay, I told myself yesterday I wasn’t going to weigh in on this issue, but three things swayed me and now I just can’t stand it. First, Jewel and I had a long talk about it over the phone last night and she ramped me up about it; second, I produce a fund raising event for the Toys for Tots program in Seattle and not only like the program, but the local Marines I work with as well; and third, it dawned on me once again that no one ever reads my blog anyway (which is how I like it, btw) so what the hell...
If the Medi-Share crap wasn’t a large enough example of spiritual selfishness for you, then take a gander at this. The Associated Press reports that the Marine’s Toys for Tots program had to turn down an offer by a company called one2believe, which wanted to donate 4,000 one-foot dolls. Sounds big-hearted? Well, not quite: the talking dolls were Biblical, and included a speaking Jesus who pressures people to convert.
Toys are donated to kids based on financial need and the Marine Corps and Toys for Tots doesn’t know anything about their background or their religious affiliations. As a government entity, Marines don’t profess one religion over another, and this has always been the policy. As a spokesman said yesterday, “We can’t take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family.”
Michael La Roe, director of business development for one2believe, said the charity’s decision left him “surprised and disappointed.” “The idea was for them to be three-dimensional teaching tools for kids,” La Roe said. “I believe as a churchgoing person, anyone can benefit from hearing the words of the Bible.”
Mr. La Roe, I understand that you’re all hopped-up on Jesus-vapors, but come on. You can’t be that stupid. It might be one thing if the Jesus doll spouted nondenominational platitudes like Gandhi. But this Messiah likes to rip off such classics as, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
Toys for Tots serves families who are in such desperate financial straits that they can’t afford to give their kids a decent Christmas. That anyone would think of piggybacking on their plight in order to score a few more notches on their conversion bedpost is deplorable. If you want to minister, fine. But keep your ministry out of your charity. Not that adherents of other faiths are any better. In my experience, most professed Buddhists act kindly and charitably out of ulterior motives: a desire to be “enlightened”, to achieve an auspicious rebirth, to feel like they’re “being a good person”. Humanity has a knack for pretending that God’s will is synchronized with its own. Few people (myself included) are dedicated enough to realize Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s insight that “[e]nlightenment is ego’s ultimate disappointment”.
That's it...I'm done.


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