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Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm a JeBu, and You?

Those of us who follow two traditions, or participate in what some are calling "dual belonging," often have a hard time explaining our spiritual perspective in a concise, coherent way. We tend not to have catchy names that explain our positions well. I must confess, however, that after looking as objectively as I could at catchy names that accurately reflect something about the people who attach those labels to themselves, those names probably only became convenient short hand with meaning after they caught on. In the beginning, those using these labels probably had to explain them at length. Whatever the case, it is certain that we can't move toward recognition until we have come up with a name.

Several years ago I read of a woman who identified herself as a Buddhapalian. She was a Buddhist-Episcopalian, and I thought that name was very catchy, and may have applied to me if I was still an Episcopalian. Then a little while later I was in an ecumenical book study with a woman who identified as a JewBu. Very nice as well, but I'm not Jewish. I settled for Christian Buddhist or Buddhist Christian, depending on which happened to tumble out of my mouth at the time. Buddhian didn't seem to have much staying power, and Chrisdist seemed to have the same problem - plus, it sounded an awful lot like a form of muscular dystrophy. "Did you hear that Bob's son has Chrisdist?" "Dammit, that's rough!"

Then I started to reflect on the fact that I really don't consider myself a member of institutional Christianity any more. Even a rat leaves a sinking ship, and I had jumped overboard a few years ago. So, while sitting on the toilet the other day (don't laugh, that's where Martin Luther wrote his 93 theses!) I pondered how to describe my spirituality. It occurred to me that Buddha offered me a way to work with my mind, and Jesus offered me a way of life, and both Buddhism and the teachings of Jesus equip me with the tools necessary for spiritual transformation. Jesus and Buddha. Then it hit me: I'm a JeBu! How cool is that?

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