I knew many people at seminary who were of a different political stance than I am. We voted differently in every election, we were on opposite sides at protests or marches and we weren’t anywhere near each other with respect to theology.
But we had some common ground.
At the time, I worked at a food pantry and oftentimes volunteers would join me from the seminary. Despite all the differences we had, there was a common interest in bettering the world and helping people in need. My friends believed that God was telling them to go volunteer. I believed that by volunteering I was creating God. It didn’t matter whether our god was a proscriptive being, or an action done in love. We worked together handing out food and scrubbing pots and pans, standing on our common ground.
It is easy to see differences: in politics, in religion, appearance… but those aren’t nearly as important as our similarities.
There is usually common ground, we just need to find it. So when you disagree with a person or a group of people, don’t just write them off. Be open to them in loving kindness and try find some common ground where you can both stand. Try to push open the boundaries of differences and see where they are coming from, and allow them the time and difficulty to do the same with you. This is a hard task, but it is worthwhile, for we can create a world of peace and communal love.
Find the common ground, work toward a world transformed not by confrontation and angst, but by conversation and caring.
Ice Bucket Challenge - Like A Minister
There’s a challenge going around where people either 1. dump a bucket of ice water on their head or 2. donate money to the ALS Association.
I was challenged. Here’s my response.
I have an eclectic taste in music - depending on my mood I will listen to Bizet’s Carmen, or I will crank up some Black Sabbath (not to mention Israel “IZ Kamakawiwo’ole, Daft Punk, Kimya Dawson or any other number of genres and artists…) I like music; and I like lots of different music.
But I am not writing about music. I write about how to live a faithful life. The point is that we can easily become what we ingest - even through our ears. I have noticed this very specifically when I am driving. When I am jamming to some heavy metal, I find myself reacting to others on the road in a more angry and mean manner - like this:
And on the other hand, when I have opera blasting through the speakers I find myself much more calm and relaxed. More like this:
The joy and anger which is expressed in music is easily internalized by me, without thinking of it. I am not saying don’t listen to metal, rap, screamo or the like. Just be mindful of how the music we listen to (and the books we read, the movies we watch…) can alter our emotions!
Let us all be mindful of how we are changed by our surroundings. Let us be mindful of our media consumption and its affect on us and the world. And let’s listen to some good (varied) music!!
Stop what you are doing! Right now. Go outside and put down your electronic device. Take a minute. Yes, a full minute - count to 60 - and notice the world around you. The temperature, traffic, animals, neighbors, flowers… just notice. I’m going to take my own advice, so here’s a pause in the post.
That was a wonderful moment of awareness for me. I watched a fly drink from droplets of water on a pink-white flower. And I almost took a picture to share, but decided to just remain in the moment and be mindful. Part of living faithfully means being aware of our lives, being mindful that we are living.
Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry.
- Henry David Thoreau