Can true humility and compassion exist in our words and in our eyes
unless we know we too are capable of any act?
St. Francis of Assisi7
One message that I digested from the religion of my
youth was that those of our particular “in crowd” were
somehow different, set apart, and on the moral high ground.
There was great emphasis on those who are “in” and those
who are “out.” It was a dogmatic world, and our people were
always on the side of absolute truth. Much suspicion and at
times paranoia was cast toward anyone outside the circle.
Catholics, Muslims, and even the Methodists living next door
all became suspect and an evangelism project.
I spent most of my growing up years in South Florida.
The majority of my high school classmates were Catholic,
Jewish, or “go to the beach on Sunday” people. Protestants
were a minority. Within my Baptist church, I absorbed a
message that there was “one way,” and it was our particular
way. Most of my closest friends wore a label different than my
own. As I interacted with them, I felt confused. They were fun
and smart and often true friends, but the ever present “in or
out” mentality within erected barriers in our relationships. I
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