Thursday, August 09, 2007

Balance, mutual respect, reciprocity, openness

There is to be acceptance of people who come from very different places (using this metaphorically as well as literally). There is to be willingness to hear "reasonable criticisms or observations" and to learn from the example of others. ... In a world that builds barriers, puts up walls, keeps the other out, and is looking for certainty, we turn to the Rule [of Benedict] and find a man who insists on balance, mutual respect, reciprocity, openness. [Benedict] refused to live with a closed mind.
- Esther De Waal
from "A Life-Giving Way" quoted in Essential Monastic Wisdom: Writings on the Contemplative Life by Hugh Feiss

This quote really stuck me. Bush is known for not listening to anybody and not ever changing his mind. Many an evangelist stubbornly substitutes the error of relativism with the equally errant absolutism.

Not only in the areas of religion and theology, but I think especially in the secular areas of politics and social issues, what Americans really need is to be able to just TALK with each other, to share ideas openly. I am often amazed at how much more ready we were to listen to different ideas, and disagree and debate civilly and amiably at my tiny Missouri-Synod conservative Lutheran college, than pretty much anywhere else in my adult life, California, Nebraska, Arizona, Iowa, work, school or leisure.

Why? Do we have to "protect the truth?" Are we afraid that if we open our minds a little, something important will fall out? If we know anything about Jesus from Scripture, it is that He opposed smugness and hypocrisy, but He was fill of patience and grace, not impatience and judgment.

Just some food for thought,

Me ka pule,
Pirate Ted

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