If you're a Tibetan Buddhist or you're leaning that way, you may not know it, but you need Jesus.
That's the thinking behind a series of Christian evangelical workshops -- including one later this month in Wheaton -- that will coincide with the Dalai Lama's trip to Chicago and other American cities this spring.
Interserve USA is putting on the workshops to teach Christians how to talk to Buddhists and, perhaps, to win converts.
"We welcome the Dalai Lama here, but we also want to have a chance to reach Tibetan Buddhists with the gospel," said Doug Van Bronkhorst, executive director of Interserve, an international missionary group based just outside of Philadelphia.
The online announcement for the upcoming workshop offers this enticing hook: "Tibetan Buddhism. It's ancient. It's complex. It's trendy. And its leader, the Dalai Lama, is visiting your city this spring." [...]
Van Bronkhorst says his organization has no plans to send Christian evangelicals to greet the Dalai Lama during his American tour. "Of course that's up to [individuals] if they want to do that," Van Bronkhorst said.
The Rev. Patti Nakai, a part-time minister at Buddhist Temple of Chicago in Uptown, says Buddhists in general may not disagree with the Bible, just the evangelical spin.
"Most Buddhists would not have a problem with what is written in the gospel," said Nakai, who does not follow the particular practices of the Dalai Lama's sect. "It's what evangelical Christians say -- the idea that you have to be saved in a certain way or you're doomed to eternal damnation, that's what we have a problem with."
There's a good reason why evangelicals believe in being doomed to eternal damnation. It's because they are.