A friend invited me to go to her Prayer Group back in the 90’s and I soon realized that everybody was a lesbian but me. It was fine. Actually, it became fine, but I have to admit feeling strange at first because I’d never been the only non-lesbian in a group before. I learned that we had more things in common than not.
Recently I was talking with a friend who told me about her daughter’s school in Chicago. My friend is a single mom who lives in an apartment in a part of town that’s often in the news because of shootings. Her daughter’s Spanish teacher doesn’t speak Spanish so she is trying to save some extra money to have her daughter take a real Spanish class in a community college. I consider this friend “like me” because she’s a mom and we often talk about our kids together. But her life is very different from my own.
I’m already pondering New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 and – especially in light of the recent election – I would like to suggest a global resolution. (I’m kind of bossy that way.)
What if we commit to getting together socially with someone who is not like us at least one time – not to “convert” the person or to judge the person or to congratulate ourselves about doing one small act of reaching out, but to simply reach out. To engage someone who is not like us. Not only is our church, our nation, our world doomed if we don’t get to know people Not Like Us, but we cannot follow Jesus if we don’t do this.
We will find that:
- Not all lesbians love KD Lang (although, honestly, they should)
- Not all Republicans are insensitive to the poor
- Not all Democrats are financially irresponsible
- Not all immigrants cause crime to rise
- Not all African Americans live in the inner city
- Not all Mormons are white
- Not all sexually active young women are promiscuous
- Not all men love sports and cars
- Not all poor people are lazy
- Not all rich people are hardhearted.
- Not all Muslims are terrorists.
- Not all Christians believe homosexuality is a sin.
What if we started 2013 with an eye on hanging out with someone so different from ourselves that a just-like-us friend might wonder, “What is she doing talking to that person?” What if we enjoyed it so much that we made it a regular part of our social lives? What do you think? Possible?
Image is a 16th C. orthodox icon of Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman.