Friday, June 1, 2007

acceptance experienced

I've been working with a group of twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings for about the past nine months now. There are about 20 or so of us in our group. Most are married and have a few kids. Though we do have some with no kids, and some who aren't married. And we are a diverse group.

Now, if you were someone who was just walking by and glanced in the room you probably wouldn't think we were that diverse. We're mostly all of the same race, and mostly all in the same tax-bracket. But where our diversity lies is in our religious ethnicity.

It's truly amazing the conversations we have, mostly because of where we all come from. In this group we have people who were born Roman Catholic but never really participated, people who used to be Roman Catholic but dropped out later in life, people who grew up Southern Baptist and who closely identify with that ideology, people who grew up Southern Baptist and rejected that ideology, former pentecostals, mainline protestants, people who grew up in a religiously neutral environment, and people who grew up in an environment strongly opposed to Christianity.

Oh yeah, and there's many others besides.

This has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I have been a part of in the Church. It's amazing to me because I grew up in an environment where there was only one acceptable religious ethnicity and to even have dialogue with others was considered wrong. I am so intrigued by the insights of the people in this group because they come from every different point in the Christian spectrum imaginable. And what's more, everyone is accepting of each other. That's truly amazing! What we've done successfully in this group is to create an environment where there are no wrong answers, where differences of opinion are respected--even appreciated, and where we all have committed to learning from each other.

It reminds me of the hymn:

Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us
Teach us, as sister, brother, each person to embrace
Be present, Lord, among us and bring us to believe
We are, ourselves, accepted and meant to love and live

(Fred Kaan & John Ness Beck--Copyright 1974, 1977--Hope Publishing Co.)

1 comment:

NoVA Dad said...

I find that as I meet more and more people during my nearly four decades in the Episcopal Church, there are quite a few people that have come from different faith backgrounds. We are a nice little melting pot of people, places, and experiences!!