A Simple Exercise

I'd like for you to humour me for just a moment and try this simple little exercise. And no, it won't require you to dislodge your bum from the seat you're sitting in right now.

I'd like you to cross your arms please. Just fold them over your chest. Now, note which hand has ended up tucked under one arm and which hand is slightly on top of the other arm.

Thank you. Now, I'd like for you to cross your arms again please. But this time I'd like for you to reverse the process, switching the positions of where your hands end up. (And yes, I've already had someone question my sanity this week over something I wrote; please, just humour me for just a few more seconds.)

Ok. Now, which way is the 'right' way?

If your answer is 'there is no right way, it's just different,' then well done you! If your answer is that one of the ways is the right way and the other is wrong, then I feel we should talk.

Ultimately, this is a challenge we're facing on a global level. We face it in our homes, in our societies, our work ethic, cultures, governments, and even in our faith. We become addicted to our own patterns, behaviours, practices and beliefs to such an extent that 'our' way becomes the only way.

Sadly, this pervasive mindset is creating such vast divisions throughout the world that it's hindering our growth and blinding our ability to see and communicate with others and with God. It causes us to fence ourselves in and build walls to keep others out.

At schools children actively exclude other children who do not wear the 'in' labels and brand them as outcasts. Tourists travel to another country and ridicule the culture because they don't prepare a food item the way we're accustomed. A word that's innocent and part of society in one country has been perversely turned into a degrading slang word in another country and the hosts of that slang word condemn others for still using it in its proper form? Or even businesses merge with foreign companies then try to force training that fails to acknowledge cultural and national customs. And leaders of countries use powerful strategies to incite its people into believing that 'their' views are the only acceptable views. (Remember a certain leader saying -'You're either with us or against us')?

And what about faith? Have you ever found yourself mentally blocking out someone who is trying to share their personal journey in finding God in their lives, merely because they come from a denomination that is different than your own? Or have you believed that the way someone else worships God is wrong because everyone around you has been conditioned to think so? No single church or denomination holds the monopoly on truth.

By refusing to acknowledge that God speaks to us in many ways we are merely prohibiting our own growth and often the growth of others. Perhaps the first step is to recognise that sometimes, the way we look at something isn't wrong, it's just 'different.'

Oh God of wisdom, You speak to us in so many wonderful ways. Help us to listen to Your voice and to look for You in everything we do and everyone we meet. Let our eyes see the goodness You have created and with Your guidance, may we become a lamp for those without light. Amen

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? I Corinthians:1-3

Posted For Fr Bill


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At 15:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr Bill you could not have said it better. My family loved your stories about Luigi and Al. It is so sad that there are some who were incapable of seeing the world outside their own and demand that your culture change to be the same as ours. We hope to read more from you. MK (a member of AR for many years)!


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