Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Is This the Real Church?

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a beautiful and thoroughly well preserved body but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally warn out and loudly proclaim, "Wow. What a ride."
~~ Jack Kornfield

In one of his warm and delightful dharma talks Buddhist teacher, former student of Ajahn Chah, and clinical psychologist Jack Kornfield tells the story of his friend, Milton Friedman.

The Milton Friedman who is Kornfield's frind is not the Nobel Laureate economist but a Washington speechwriter who works for a couple of senators and who worked in the Carter White House. None-the-less, his name is Milton Friedman and he is listed in the Washington, D.C. phone book. One supposes that there are those who might think the more illustrious Friedman lives in Washington, D.C. rather than in Chicago where he taught.

In any case, as Kornfield relates the story, his freind recieved a call one day. This was during a time when the economy was in a downturn and their were deep concerns in financial circles that a recession was just aroud the corner.

"Is this Milton Friedman?"

"Yes, it is."

The caller then went to explain that he was the Controller for an organization that managed several billion dollars of Church finances and wanted to know if Friedman might have any suggestions as to where the money might be safely and wisely invested.

After listening to the story this Friedman replied, "Have you considered giving the money to the poor?"

There was a moment of stunned silence on the other end of the phone and then a tremulous voice asked, "Are you the Milton Friedman?"

Kornfield's friend immediately replied, "Are you the real Church?"

At this point in Kornfield's talk you can hear the gasps and indrawn breaths of the audience as that heavily freighted dialogue sinks in.

"Are you the real church?"

(Originally posted to Multiply August 1, 2008)

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