Thai Goes...To the Color Orange
I got really lucky with this image of an orange, wood-table swirl meeting a tan, espresso swirl. This particular Americano—at a Doi Chaang coffee stand in a travel plaza between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai—sent me into a fit of religious ecstasy. Like those coffee-stimulated Sufi mystics in the Yemeni monasteries of old.
Not exactly. However, for me, hands down, here rests the best Americano I had during my two weeks in and around Chiang Mai—with Doi Tung's version probably a 2a and Wawee's version a 2b and Ristr8to a distant third.
Per Thai custom, sandals are removed at the front door. Here is a bright, whimsical image—an image made more beautiful by the knowledge that these orange sandals belong to a girl who lives in the Eden House, an orphanage in northern Thailand. Eden House is actually three houses with approximately 30 girls total who are mostly from the hill tribes and who are generally considered at-risk for being trafficked.
Because nothing says welcome to our Buddhist university quite like a PowerPoint presentation featuring images of human suffering in need of relief. In all seriousness, our group of doctoral students from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary loved the "Monk Chat" experience at the university at Wat Suan Dok.
After the professor's presentation, each of us gathered with a small group of saffron-clad, fourth-year Buddhist monks for a little informal Buddhist-Christian dialogue. My group included monks from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. The occasion reminded me of a friend's ever-insightful observation: "Experiential and relational interfaith education is what it will take to transform people's understanding of the other."
Thai Goes is an ongoing journal from my two-week Doctor of Ministry residency in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in January. The focus of the learning cohort was to experience and study the intersections of faith and global development.