We continue our five-week worship series this Sunday called Healing the Heart of Democracy, based on the writings of Parker Palmer.
This Week’s Habit of the Heart: An Appreciation of the Value of “Otherness”
“Despite the fact that we are all in this together, we spend most of our lives in ‘tribes’ or lifestyle enclaves. Thinking of the world in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’ is one of the many limitations of the human mind that can be overcome only by continual discipline and practice. The good news is that ‘us and them’ does not need to mean ‘us versus them.’ Instead, it can take us back to the ancient tradition of hospitality to the stranger, translating it into meanings that apply to our twenty-first century lives. This is a tradition that does not blink at the fact that many people will always be strangers to us, or that we will always be the stranger to many others. But the tradition of hospitality affirms the many ways we can receive and learn from the stranger, allowing ‘otherness’ to enlarge and revitalize our lives—including the kind of otherness that seems alien and even threatening. This kind of hospitality is impossible if we are unable to see the creative possibilities inherent in diversity.”
From Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer
Reflect back on one of your first experiences when you realized that someone considered you to be “the other.” What was that like? Has this been a common experience for you? When was a moment when you encountered someone that you had previously considered an “other”?