Well, there you have it folks. You heard it from the man: You can't possibly be a practicing Zen Buddhist and an Episcopal priest. Jesus doesn't give you that option. The man in the pickup even hinted that the fires are being stoked down below to give the likes of me a warm reception when the time comes--me and the bishop-elect of Northern Michigan, the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester. (By the way, Kevin is not an ordained Zen priest. He has taken the bodhisattva precepts, sometimes referred to as "lay ordination" in certain Zen circles.)
Frankly, I've given up labeling for Lent. Am I a Christian and a Zen Buddhist? Or am I not a Christian because I practice Zen Buddhism? Or am I not a Zen Buddhist because I practice Christianity? There are devout fundamentalists on both sides of the fence--Zen and Christian alike--who have said that one can't be both.
What it comes down to is this: I am who I am. I practice both. Tea anyone?
Instrumental in bringing many Christians to the practice of Zen, Yamada Roshi said it this way: Regarding the relation between Christianity and Zen, I think it can be thought of as two highways, going on separate paths, but crossing at an intersection. The two roads may seem quite apart, but where they cross is common ground. Now, if we take Zen as religion, Christianity and Zen do seem to be quite different. But their teachings have, at their intersection, a common area that belongs to both: the area of religious experience. (On Zen Practice:Body, Breath, and Mind; Wisdom Publications 2002; p. 75)
And the fruits of that unnameable essential experience are this: growth in love and grace. Growth in compassion and wisdom. Becoming fully human. Becoming myself.
You can call me what you like.