on the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

I took Tuesday morning off work, to see the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu speak on a panel along with representatives from a number of different faiths on the topic of compassion. Afterwards, I participated in the 600-member choir and orchestra which performed the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. Thanks to Seeds of Compassion for organizing this event.

The discussion was amazing and I’d encourage any of you interested to check out the complete video webcast which is available here. The one from Tues. Apr. 15 is the one I was at. (You can spot me in the choir at 02:27:43 and a few other moments if you look carefully.)

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One highlight of the morning for me was the following extemporaneous mini-sermon by Desmond Tutu (in response to the question, “How can you learn to not be so hard on yourself? How do you learn to redeem yourself for a mistake?”):

… It would be awful if we didn’t get angry when you see someone, for instance, violating a child. That would be awful! And so it is something to be thankful for when you lose your cool. That is quite important; it says something about a person. If you were to be indifferent, hearing that children were being killed in Darfur, I would get worried about you! And so I’m glad that you get upset.

And about the things that actually get to upset you… I get really angry with God. I mean I’ve…I’ve…rrrrrgggh!! You know…how can you–how can you?!–let this, that, and the other happen, you know. And the God that we worship is incredible, in a way. He says, “Yeah… You know, I gave them a gift of freedom. And they can use it that way. And I can’t do…I can’t do anything! Okay, get mad at me. Get mad at me; I’m glad you’re getting mad.”

And sometimes…I laugh easy, but I cry quite a lot as well…so, I cry. But I want to support you…for goodness’ sake, God has all of eternity to work on you. You and I are a work in progress! And if we slip — this is one of the wonderful things about God! — God doesn’t say (you know, if you make a mistake), “AAH! Good riddance to bad rubbish!” God…God picks you up, dusts you off, and says…Try again! And when you mess it up again, God says…”Tough luck. Come on, let’s try again.” Dusts you off… “Come on, try! Try…and try…” Because this God is a three-miles-per-hour God. Walking at our pace.

One Response to “on the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu”

  1. I heard a woman quote Bishop Tutu’s speech this morning on NPR and I Googled to find it. Your blog is helpful because it has both the text and a link to the video – thank you for helping a youth leader find some great content! 🙂

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