Hearing the Call across Traditions
Adam Davis (ed.), Skylight Paths, $26.95
The editor has gathered together a number of addresses, poems, short stories and statements under three loose headings: “Why do I serve?”, “Whom do I serve?” and “How do I serve?”.
The authors come from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Taoist backgrounds, among others. There is commonality among the words of the Dalai Lama, the parable by Jesus about the Good Samaritan, the words found in the Book of Isaiah, a letter from Mahatma Gandhi, dialogue from the Hindu writing of Bhagavad Gita, the Taoist philosopher Chuang-Tzu and the emphasis on mercy in the Qur’an.
We are touched by the poignant story of the death of “The Shopping-Bag Lady”: “As if they were a game, the old women who carry all they own in bags … the failure was ours.”
We are appalled at the apathy in “The Mexican-American” when the protests of Catholic farm workers and their families are supported by Protestant ministers, who along with them were imprisoned, “while our own parish priests stay in their churches”. Then we are challenged by Cesar Chavez: “The church as an ecumenical body spread around the world … is one form of the Presence of God on Earth, it is an organisation of tremendous wealth. It is our fault that wealth is not channelled to help the poor in our world.”