While debriefing Narrative 4 circles I facilitate in and beyond Nashville, I often hear people say things like, “This experience reminds me of how much we all have in common. Most of the time, we’re all focused on all our differences, but we just need to remember that we are all more alike than we are different.”
This is a lovely sentiment, and one that may even be true. But it also might not be. While prioritizing the search for common ground has great use, it also runs the risk of assuming we must do this because difference is bad.
Everything political is personal for someone. Politics, at its etymological root, has to do with how we organize our lives and affairs with the people we live among. And how we live among each other affects us all in personal ways.
Being able to understand is not the same as justifying, or agreeing with, or supporting. It’s simply being able to get your head around why and how that person, in their context with their story and their pain and their experiences and their relationships and their wiring, might come to think and act as they do. In the end, this is all about empathy.
I think part of what this reveals is that we are all moving through life yearning to be true, authentic, and vulnerable with each other. We want desperately to show our true selves to each other. To have our pain and our pride, our vulnerability and our victories, seen and heard—even by total strangers. We have stories we don’t want to keep inside.
This is the Advent reader I’ve been waiting for: diverse, timely, and topical. Along with my friend Claire Brown, I’ve been working throughout the end of October and early November to assemble this remarkable list of contributors for a daily Advent reader focused on what the Advent season has to say about peacemaking. Subscribers will […]
Reposting a story I wrote for OnFaith on dining in the home of Palestinian Muslims, originally published April 3, 2017. As we prepare to step inside their home, a friend says, “It is a different world in there.” They are Muslim, and we are Christian. We come from white American privilege, and they from the poverty […]
Cascade Books has just released my new book Where the River Bends: Considering Forgiveness in the Lives of Prisoners, with a foreword by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Synopsis: Myriad works discuss forgiveness, but few address it in the prison context. For most people, prisoners exist “out of sight and out of mind.” Their […]
This post was originally published on the Tokens Show Blog on December 4, 2015. “I find it ironic on this Thanksgiving Day—a day of sharing, hospitality, and welcome—that our nation is divided as to whether we should extend hospitality to those seeking refuge in our borders.” Such was my dad’s opening remark as he welcomed […]