Good-different and Bad-different

Rachel and I are used to going away together. We walk, sit, read, eat… It’s quiet and gentle.

This week we’re away with grandchildren. I’ve kicked a football, played noisy games, visited an adventure playground…  I’ll need a holiday to recover. It’s different – good-different.

David Lammy in ‘Tribes’ describes how we identify with ‘tribes’ linked to race, religion, politics, sexual identity, football… emphasising differences… leading to polarisation… believing that different is bad-different:

Some people see politics… as a force for good: a way to achieve justice and equality… Others see it as a force for evil: the reason and legitimator for the increasing division and tribalism in our politics.’ Good-different versus bad-different.

Last week we followed the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas… unspeakable grief, unresolved problems, tragedy and trauma that will continue for years… Often the focus is not on understanding and resolution but on polarised pro-gun and anti-gun arguments. Different is bad-different.

Since I’ve retired I’ve spent time with many different people – different disabilities, mental ill-health concerns, sexual orientations, social backgrounds, employment/unemployment situations, political convictions, religious commitments and persuasions… Everyone has a story to tell, a fresh perspective, a lesson to teach me. Different is good-different.

Franciscan priest Richard Rohr describes how he came to a ‘…greater inclusivity in my ideas, a deeper understanding of people, and a more honest sense of justice. God always became bigger and led me to bigger places. If God could “include” and allow, then why not I?

…As a Christian I finally had to be either Roman or catholic, and I continue to choose the catholic end of that spectrum—remember, catholic means universal. Either Jesus is the “savior of the world” (John 4:42), or he is not much of a savior at all.’

Rohr’s is an inclusive God where different is good-different.

Musing… St Paul: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus…’ An inclusive, unifying Jesus… different is good-different.

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