Friday, September 4, 2009

Conversation from the Heartland

I will be starting the School of the Spirit "On Being a Spiritual Nurturer" program in less than two weeks. Before each residency we have a number of readings. My wife Ceal was in the previous class, so I am familiar with a number of these readings, and one in particular I was very happy to read again - Conversations from the Heartland from the 10/2006 Friends Journal.

Kat Griffith tells the story of her living room conversations with some other home-schooling moms, most of which would be considered members of the "Religious Right". In these conversations, Kat learned much about them, and about herself.

I find this article particularly appropriate right now with all the rancor about health care. Someone in California recently had part of his finger bitten off by a demonstrator. About once a week I go out for Indian food with some co-workers and over the past month we have spent much of the time discussing health care. We have an interesting mix of liberal, conservative, and libertarian viewpoints, and the conversation is remarkably civil - maybe a little animated, but we tend to talk about the issues and not so much about each others' attitudes. I occasionally try to inject a religious aspect into it, and that has been interesting. I have had difficulty making the leap from "whatever you have done for the least of these my brothers and sisters, you have done it for me" to making it the government's job. It is not that I mind paying taxes to help others, but that I can't reconcile forcing others to do the same.

In her article, Kat Griffith found that while she had initially made assumptions about people on the "Religious Right", she found they had varying opinions on particular issues. How welcoming are we of different opinions?

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