authentic community, and practice loving our “neighbors.”
The result is that we fall prey to pride, arrogance, and the
necessity to be right about our own perspectives.
Liberals can be just as guilty as conservatives. Any
shade of dogmatism creates a world full of “others.” But
because the early messages imprinted within my heart and
mind were of the more religiously fundamental and
conservative nature, my initial challenge was to open up to
those who were otherized by the tradition of my youth. Yet,
interestingly, as my beliefs and ideas have shifted, I am now
faced with the task of more fully loving those who represent
my earlier religious training. Whenever and however I
designate anyone in my life as “other,” I must then take action
to open my heart and mind to the other’s point of view.
On the first go round of parenting, I mostly hung out
with like-minded parents. I naively and mistakenly believed
that this would offer a shield of protection around my children.
Participating in international adoption cracked and then blew
open the door to relationship with interesting people, many
who come at life from very different perspectives.
My personal journey went something like this: I first
began to listen to the voice of others, I was forced to listen to
the voices of my children, and then I received the grace to
listen to my own voice. At times, I worked so hard to protect
the religious turf in my mind that I could not look up and out
to truly see the beauty in those so often marked as other. In
reality the questions and push back on the status quo of my
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