I walked into the Buddhist meeting and everybody was speaking at once. Over and over they repeated the same phrase.
At the front of the room a white man in his 50s leading the chanting. He had the swiftly rolling enunciation of an experienced auctioneer calling out the current bid to a crowd of buyers, but the words were foreign to me.
Someone tapped me on the shoulder from behind and handed me a glossy business card. It had a picture of a lotus flower and the words "Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō".
"This is the chant," he told me helpfully, "feel free to join in".
"Thank you so much," I replied, "that's really kind, what language is this in?"
It's just after seven o'clock in the morning and I'm desperately waiting for the caffeine to kick in from the mug of coffee I'm gripping in my left hand. In my right hand I'm holding a pen and sketching out some possible ways to structure a training seminar.
I don't normally start work so early; I'm ordinarily readying for the school run at this hour.
But Emi, one of the guys in the Bucharest cohort of our Chrysolis Academy training program for Christian communicators, has asked me round to help him develop the interactive elements of two sessions he is teaching this weekend at a local church's men's retreat.
"I don't believe in God, do you think people here will judge me?"
He'd never been to a Christian event before and it was all quite new for him. But he'd loved the atmosphere and was also struck by hearing God discussed in intelligent and concrete terms by relatively normal people. But he didn't know how welcome his questions and doubts would be.
"Not at all," I replied to him, "people here absolutely love people who don't believe in God, you're like their favourite people. and they enjoy honest open discussion... you're definitely in the right place."
An expression of relief came across his face as he smiled back at me.
"Good," he said, "because I have so many questions and I think these are good people with whom to talk about them."
We are repurposing the Chrysolis blog and website more towards news of our work and also a better class of article, and new posts should appear here soon. In the meantime, you can visit our archives of old blogposts or catch up on some of Chrysolis' work via relevant posts on Luke Cawley's personal blog.