How quickly the ground under our feet seems to be shifting! I was astounded recently to find this quote from a man once greatly admired, but now scorned by many for his imperialism and his colonialist attitude. A quote by Winston Churchill whose statue in Parliament Square in London has now been boarded up to protect it from further attacks by anti-racist demonstrators.
Diversity is the one thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.
As participant on a panel on Interreligious Studies, Vancouver School of Theology, I recently introduced myself as a lover of jig-saw puzzles. Every piece has its unique colour, its unique bumps and indentations, and if a single piece is missing, the picture is always incomplete.
Ditto for the diversity of the human community. The picture is incomplete if some are left out or have somehow gone missing. Each piece of humanity whatever its shape adds something to the whole. And yet, in real life, all too often, people seem to reject some of their fellow humans, or they cluster together only with those who have the same colour and the same shape. They start to value sameness over diversity.
As some of you know, I’m a lover of jig-saw puzzles. Every piece has its unique colour, its unique bumps and indentations, and if a single piece is missing, the picture is always incomplete.
So it is with the diversity of the human community. The picture is incomplete if some are left out or have somehow gone missing. Each piece of humanity whatever its shape adds something to the whole. And yet, in real life, all too often, people seem to reject some of their fellow humans. They prefer to cluster together only with those who have the same colouring, the same shape, and often, the same opinions. They start to value sameness over diversity.
More than ever, isolation has made us aware of the importance of outreach to family and friends. Today, I share with you one such exchange that has brought me solace, and will hopefully lift your spirits as well.
Dear friend, it is simply great to hear from you, and thank you, I’m physically well. However, I must admit that I’m struggling to maintain a positive outlook as I watch events unfold from the safety of my home.
Crossing the land, faster than any bug
Are the plaints of people needing a hug
Viewing from a distance, by Skype or by Zoom
Simply doesn’t equate to being in the same room.
In its heyday, IG Farben was the largest company in Europe and the largest chemical and pharmaceutical company in the world. Three of its scientists became Nobel laureates. Should those working on making aspirin have worried about the Zyklon B gas that their employer was also manufacturing? What are the contemporary parallels, and should people always accept employment even if the company might be doing harmful things to other humans and/or to the environment?
Like these flowers, every human is slightly different. Each one of us unique in our attributes, and every person is a singular being sharing space on this precious planet called Earth. Like these flowers, we have the potential to bring beauty and pleasure into the lives of others. Like these flowers, we will one day fade and be returned to the earth, but meanwhile, each of us has a contribution to make.
Like these eggs, our human commonalities exceed our differences. The slightly darker shade of some shells is a reminder that enlightened people everywhere have learned to accept that skin colour is unimportant, and that people of all races, creeds, and colours can cluster together, sharing space like these eggs nestled in their transparent vase.
I’m just reading an excellent book- David Brooks, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. He claims that we live in a soul-flattening meritocracy. Hmmm! Soul-flattening. This, at a time when we are in isolation to flatten the curve of another form of toxicity and contagion.
The meritocracy defines “community ” as a mass of talented individuals competing with one another. It organizes society into an endless set of outer and inner rings, with high achievers at the Davos center and everybody else arrayed across the wider rings toward the edge. While it pretends not to, it subliminally sends the message that those who are smarter and more accomplished are actually worth more than those who are not.David Brooks, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. N.Y., Random House, 2019, p.23.
Some 5,000 years ago in what was once thought to be the
centre of the earth, the lands of the medi (middle) terra
(earth), humans recognized that some things were unfair. Sometimes rain fell in
such abundance that fields became swamps. At other times, rain failed to fall,
and crops crumbled into desert dust. Those who prospered, those who had grain
in abundance perceived the need to share. Thus, it was codified and written
into law that farmers leave open the corners of their fields, making all four
corners accessible to the less fortunate. Remember Boaz, the wealthy landowner
who spotted Ruth, the widowed Moabite daughter-in-law of his relative Naomi, gleaning grain in