Embracing Diversity: Kent’s Perspective

Truth is we tend to hang out with people who think, act and look like us. There’s something reassuring about that which is familiar.

This is particularly true in this political season. Trump and Hillary supporters gravitate to one another. I find that there are certain topics that I simply don’t want to discuss with some of my extended family. Their politics drive me nuts…and visa versa.

Last night (Halloween) a Dad escorted his child to my door. The child’s costume was a laundry basket with the bottom cut out. The child stood in the midst of the basket. Around his neck was the sign: “I’m one of Hillary’s Basket of Deplorables’.

From my previous posting it’s clear I’m no supporter of Mr. Trump. But soon the election will be over and we will have the challenge of how to live together as a nation…whoever is elected.

Perhaps an antidote to our toxic culture is to make a renewed or new commitment to talk with rather than at each other. To listen to understand, to speak to be understood. This doesn’t mean we will agree but perhaps we will feel ‘heard‘. And being heard means feeling respected.

In the town I live in I’m working to help form a Multi-Faith coalition. Our intent is to create a safe place to explore and understand our differences and to find common ground upon which we can stand.

It isn’t always easy to be with people who vote, worship or speak differently. But it’s also stimulating to be with people who see the world from a somewhat different angle.

Choosing to make friends with folk who approach some aspect of life differently, cause me to look at my assumptions, beliefs, practices from a slightly different stance too. Sometimes I leave the conversation reaffirming by belief and approach. More often I leave changed, altered, blessed.

My suggestion? Take a chance. Hang out with someone who seems different. You’ll learn a lot and who knows, you may find that you have more in common than you ever dreamed possible.

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About Kent Harrop

I am bi-coastal...I was raised in New England (Rhode Island) and for twenty years 1994 - 2014 served as pastor of First Baptist Church McMinnville, Oregon. In May 2014 I moved with my wife Tricia back to New England and serve on a team of ministers at the First Baptist Church in Beverly, Massachusetts. I love the beauty and geographic breadth of Oregon and the north shore of Massachusetts. A growing edge for me is the integration of the contemplative and prophetic life. Tricia and I enjoy gardening, camping and kayaking on rivers and ocean. We have two grown daughters who are strong, smart and adventurous. The purpose of the blog is to explore the relationship between faith and the wider culture. The views expressed here are my own.
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