Friday, November 7th and Saturday, November 8th, the Diocese of Ohio held its annual convention.
What is Kindness? According to online Oxford Dictionary, kindness is "the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate." The kindness of strangers is something we are familiar with as it is out of the ordinary for someone who doesn't know us to be generous. There has even been movements to encouraging Americans to partake in random acts of kindness including a foundation devoted to this cause.
In what possible sense of the word could this purposeful attempt to end the Tibetan way of life be considered an act of kindness? Was this a friendly act? Was the Chinese Government being generous? Were they being considerate of the Tibetan people. Clearly the answer to all of these questions is no. The Dalai Lama and Buddhist definition of kindness was foreign to me.
So here is how a Buddhist monk sitting in the choir of Old Trinity opened up to me a new way of thinking of kindness. The Chinese Government was kind in that it made possible for the Tibetan people to share their culture and religious beliefs with the world. Without the Chinese invasion it is likely the Tibetan monks and the Buddhist teachings would never have come to Tiffin in 2014. In other words, this way of thinking is not an apologetic for the violence of the Chinese but a genuine examination for the goodness, or kindness, that came out of that act.
I could share more on the meditations of that evening but I am sure I would not do the teachings on kindness and compassion the justice they deserve. Instead let me just share what I find to be a related experience from the annual convention of the Diocese of Ohio. It has so do with one our tag lines--God Loves you. No Exceptions.
This is of course a radical idea for our society. There must be exceptions. The serial killer. The abusive parent or spouse. We all know someone who deserves to be outside of the parameters of God's love. Indeed those who our society would say are beyond saving. Yet here we are, the Diocese of Ohio, proclaiming that the Gospel of Christ is "God loves you. No exceptions."
I encourage you to listen to this radio interview by Bishop Hollingsworth on this very idea. It happened on a local Cleveland radio show during the month of December 2011--shortly after the billboard pictured above starting making appearances.
I find both of these experiences calling us out ourselves. To see God at work in the world in the world around us. To see Christ in all humanity. That God's loving-kindness is extended to you, to me, and even to those who do us harm.