Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Conversations with Ross


A man, I call Ross, is the mayor of the nearby village, Lalomalava. He is a loquacious fellow with whom I have conversations as we sit by his roadside vegetable stand. He seems to appreciate my working with him and his villagers as his village starts a home garden project.

Ross is a devout Mormon. He feels it is his mission to baptize me as a Mormon so that I may enter the gates of heaven. These conversations have peaked his curiosity in meeting a person who does not believe in the afterlife. Ross is troubled by my reticence to be saved, others who have left the Mormon Church, and by his failure to convince others of his point of view. Ross is a cleaver and skilled crusader.

A common sermon in the various churches I attend is about staying on the straight and narrow path. Ross reminds me of this teaching. I ask why each church has their own narrow path to salvation and people should not stray from it? How can there be so many paths? Maybe the path is wider than anyone realizes or there is no path at all. Ross says his path is the only correct one.

One cannot fault another for being intolerant when their deep beliefs are challenged. Indeed the Peace Corps adventure puts all to the test of separating those things of which you should be intolerant from those that are simply different.

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