I want to share something extremely personal. It's a quote from my mother.
A little background: My mother has a double masters in pastoral theology and social work. She has a heart for service to the community. She has friends from all walks of life and raised me, by example, to have an open mind and heart. Both my parents raised me to stand up for what I believe in. The circumstances of my life have given me a unique perspective (as unique as anyone else's) and have led me towards advocacy for many causes including but not limited to peace, AIDS awareness, child sex-trafficking awareness and support for victims, minority issues and the issues of the LGBT community.
Here's the quote. It's not a complete quote but it's what I'll share with you:
"...it's difficult being part of a community where your beliefs differ - but isn't that what a community is all about? Just like family - we love them no matter what - but we don't always agree. Just be kind and continue to listen..."
I wanted to share it because I think it applies to not just being part of the community she and I were discussing but for participation in all communities. It applies to being part of a family, a neighborhood, a church, a city, a state, a country and the human race.
There will always be difficulties because there will always be differences. This should not discourage you from taking part. Don't be afraid to be around people who think, act, or live differently than you do. It will challenge you beyond your own experience. And, doing so with an open mind and heart will increase the potential for two wonderful things to happen in your life: finding what is truest to your heart so that you may live by it and removing beliefs that are unhealthy and limit your potential as a human being.
This is why I chose a church community. Heck, that's why I chose a marriage. Though, I don't think either relationship would last if I wasn't encouraged by both to think for myself and come to my own understanding. Relationships that don't encourage you to think for yourself shouldn't last. You can't live by someone else's belief system if it contradicts what is truest to your own.
So, do I always agree with everything? No. But, I'm very grateful to be in a marriage and in a church that leaves room for my diferences and doesn't turn me away because of them. I'm also grateful for what I have learned and what has changed in my own life for having allowed someone to challenge me. We are not islands unto ourselves. Our country and our world need room for differences. Like it or not, as humans we are a community. The potential is everywhere for us to live as one.
Continue to listen.
Love them no matter what. - LM
Here's a rough demo of a song I wrote a while back. I think it kinda of says what I mean.