While thinking of a way of best describing my old friend and our current relationship, my opinion of him can best be summed up by a quote from Maugham's masterpiece Of Human Bondage :
"Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind."
When my old friend and I met, it was the early 1970's. We were "avant garde" and "revolutionary" and like all "non-conformists" we were generally like everyone else our age.
Our minds were molded by the likes of John Lennon. We wore our hair long, we had holes in our jeans and rode around in VW vans and beetles.
We both rejected the religion of our ancestors for the religion that advocates respect for one's ancestors.....Buddhism. I suspect our motivations for exploring Buddhist thought were quite different. His calling himself Buddhist was motivated more by his dislike of all things American. His Liberalism exacerbated his disdain for the country and our culture. Over the years, he's read countless books on the religion but hasn't taken the first step in actually practicing it in his daily life. He may protest that he is a Buddhist, but his actions prove him to be a follower of that modern religion of many "baby-boomers".....Liberalism.
My reasons for studying Buddhism so many years ago was an overwhelming desire to understand the reason behind this veil of tears. In addition to reading books on the subject, I attempted to live my life accordingly.
It might very well seem odd to many, but it was this attempt to meditate and live life as Buddha taught that eventually lead me to reject Buddhism and return to the Catholic Church. Not being afraid to get my feet wet, I jumped into the water, head first, and that has lead me to change my way of thinking and my way of living.
Even though we now have completely different world views, I can still consider him my friend. I'm sure he does not hold that view.
I've rejected the pro-abortion, anti-marriage, "open minded" Liberal cult. I have rejected Barack Obama and have committed the unforgivable sin of having voted for a Republican. Although he will speak politely in phone conversations, he will not accept invitations to have dinner with my wife and me. He doesn't openly say no; he has to check with his wife to see if they have a previous engagement.
In the end, I know he will not call back to let me know if they can make it. There will be no phone call and no knock at the door.
I can accept that we no longer see eye to eye. I believe - in spite of that - that he and I can still be friends. Obviously, he and his wife disagree with me on that idea as well.