Born Again

On Sunday afternoon, I was interviewed (via phone) on Kate Turkington’s Believe it or Not, a talk show that “offers a non-denominational but multi-dimensional approach to philosophical, moral and religious topics and issues drawn from our daily lives.” The show has been running for an amazing 19 years with the same host. Kate Turkington is extremely knowledgeable and it was both interesting and enjoyable to talk with her about my experiences with Buddhism and Christianity and about my new book, Growing in Love and Wisdom.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past couple of days about my reaction to one comment that she made. As best as I cam remember the actual words she used (I haven’t yet gotten the link to the podcast of the interview, but will post it when I do), she said, “you sound – in your passion in talking about your experience of God and Jesus – like a born-again Christian.”

I felt myself immediately draw back as I head the question. “I’m not one of those,” was the first thought that went through my head. I immediately had a vision of several people I had known when I was younger, who announced they were born again, and in whom could not detect any visible sign of that label. And “born again” is not a term Catholic tend to use.

What I said to Kate Turkington in response to her comment was that I think I sound like anyone who has had a deep religious experience – that when we experience God, we are changed. I think it is impossible to sound anything other than passionate about a deep experience of God.

As I thought later about her comment, my reaction and my response, I realize that, despite the negative associations the term has for some people, the “born-again” is actually a quite good phrase. What came to my mind was Jesus discussion with Nicodemus about the need to be born again. (“You must be born from above.”) I don’t think Jesus is talking simply about baptism, but about a fundamental transformation of our being – a transformation that comes from our experience of God. Born again may be a good way of talking about the fruit of our foundational religious experiences.