Different people, in good faith, can look at the same fact and interpret it differently. But that's where an interesting conversation begins. -Eric Schlosser
It’s true that each of us can hear and understand the same “thing” in different ways. It seems to me, that as the world becomes more and more connected through technology and media, we are all more aware of our differences. Sometimes dangerously so, when fear and violence lead our news cycles those same emotions can cloud our experiences with the people around us. Making it hard, if not impossible, to get to know one another. But our differences are not a reason to avoid one another, as Christians especially our differences are an invitation to live out the Great Commandment: To Love God and Love Your Neighbour.
So how do we do that?
I believe that the reality of our world getting closer is a wonderful thing, although it does mean that the way we communicate and connect needs to change. We can no longer assume that our neighbour’s life experience is very similar to our own. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have shared experiences any longer, but it does put a higher priority on curiosity as we learn about our neighbours in a way that may not have been necessary before. This is a gift!
There are many gifts to be found in this time of new discovery and interconnection in the world.As we learn to communicate in slightly different ways in order to “Love Your Neighbour” we will be invited to do some reflection of ourselves.
• How might I put myself in someone else’s shoes and see this differently?
• What do I want to understand more about their experience?
• How can I listen more attentively to them?
I certainly am not always able to be as open as I would like, but it is my goal to learn about others before making judgements about them from my own limited understanding. This practice of reflection on my own personal biases and experience helps me to listen, to discover and to connect more deeply with the people I meet.
In what ways do you find yourself able to be curious about others? What helps you to develop new relationships in your life? How might our congregation help support one another to be more curious about the world around us, a world that is dramatically different from the one that many of us grew up in?
In the church many of us have found a safe place to explore faith and a community that loves and supports us. While we hold onto that gift in our lives, I wonder...how might we open ourselves to hear and understand the stories of others who have not experienced the church in the same way? What might we learn about ourselves in the process? How might God invite us into new vision and direction? How might curiosity shape our future?
I am curious about God’s plan for us, are you?