Notes from Scott:
I grew up in a small town in Kansas. To say that it was a different time and place would be an understatement. To say that I’m different than most of my family of origin would be another understatement. We still have sports in common. Sometimes, sitting around the table, it feels like that’s about all we have in common.
We think differently about politics, how to read the Bible, how to live our lives. A long time ago, we stopped talking about those things. We created an unspoken truce that traded authenticity for stability. In doing so, something was lost. Because we no longer talk about the ways that we’re different, we no longer risk hurtful words or angry decisions. But now there are limits on our relationships. When you don’t know (or acknowledge) who someone really is, then you can’t relate to who they really are.
There is another danger that comes with relating to those that have different values or beliefs. There is a tendency, perhaps a temptation, to see them as ‘other’. When we see someone as ‘other’ they become defined by how they are different than me/we. It means that we fail to see what we have in common, where we agree, where we can work together. But, most importantly, it means we may no longer see Jesus in the ‘other’. We may no longer see the ‘other’ as created in God’s image.
I’m not suggesting that differences are irrelevant, especially when it comes to values.
I am suggesting that as Christians we are always called to see Jesus in everyone, not just those we’re comfortable with or who share our beliefs and values. In this time of uncertainty, it’s even more important. May God give us eyes and ears to see and hear each other as Children of God.