Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"Us" and "Them", really?

I've discovered though social media there is an awful lot of "us" and "them" thinking going on in our society.  This is most evident when it comes to politics and lightening rod issues such as gun control or global climate change.  Many people identify their side and then dig in their heals, all the while claiming the other side is not open to change or understanding how things REALLY are.

On Sunday I had the opportunity to provide a children's sermon at church on the story of the Good Samaritan.  I love the way Jesus took a Samaritan, who for the Jews clearly would have been one of "them", and cast him as a role model for others, including a priest!  Jesus then reminded us that we were to love our neighbors.

In reading a book by the Dalai Lama, An Open Heart, he conveys the same message. After writing  about how the world has gotten smaller with improved communication and transportation he notes:
"In a sense the concept of "us" and "them" is almost  no longer relevant, as our neighbors' interests are ours as well.  Caring for our neighbors' interests is essentially caring for our own future. To day the reality is simple. In harming our enemy, we are  harmed."

I hope that our political leaders in Washington DC will come to more fully recognize this truth, as they seek to develop legislation that is in our common good.  The recent strident partisanship is clearly harming the nation.

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