minutes of connection as we talked of birthdays and the death
of her mother. We experienced honest human connection.
There was nothing at all to fear. What is it that has quelled the
damning voices inside my mind? It is the face-to-face, friend-
to- friend interactions with “others” that has led the way. They
are in fact not “others” at all.
Which of us has not changed our hearts and minds
about a particular prejudice toward a “type” of person after
truly getting to know them, one individual at a time? When I
keep “the other” at arm’s length, then I am comfortable fearing
or disparaging entire groups of people, even if it is just within
my mind. When I label another as poor, homeless, Muslim,
gay, transgender, liberal, conservative, or any other adjective,
then I give up the option to truly listen to and interact with
someone as my fellow human. It is in the midst of everyday
interactions and conversations that my heart and mind open
up to change.
Within family, when someone we love reveals being
part of a previously feared or disdained group, we almost
always move forward together given time, communication,
understanding, and true love. It is rare to truly renounce
someone we love over such matters. When rejection of a loved
one is the choice, there is always great pain, suffering, and
destruction within the one scorned as well as the larger family
or community. Kent Annan, author on the topic of faith and
justice, says it this way: “It’s vital for us to enter into the truth
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