my thoughts keep returning to the great divisions in american society, to our inability to look at life through the eyes of another. during the past week, i listened on public radio to a review of a book about the horrors of the slave trade. i thought of how many americans defended the institution of slavery by citing passages from the bible. i thought of recent comments by conservatives and neo-confederates suggesting that american slavery was a benign practice that actually benefited those who were enslaved. i thought of how easy it is to assign those who are different from us into a category of "others," thereby relieving us of the necessity of viewing those "others" as completely human since they are unlike us.
i wonder, too, if it isn't too simplistic to see the police who have been involved in the slaying of unarmed african-americans and, by extension, all police as being a class of "others." can we have compassion for those who commit acts that we view as immoral and try to see life through their eyes? should we try to understand what motivated them to kill before trying others avenues to resolve the situations in which they found themselves? i think we should. how did we allow our society to become so fearful that we see persons whose skin is a different color from ours as being dangerous. we must find out why we have become a "shoot-first-ask-questions-later" people.
we are so separated by economic status, by region, by ethnicity, by religion, by sexual orientation that we no longer see ourselves as "one country indivisible." these thoughts about our alienation from one another caused me to think of jesus' words in the the seventeenth chapter of john's gospel. in this prayer just before his arrest, jesus repeatedly refers to "oneness." first jesus prays that the disciples would be one just as jesus and the Father are one. next he prays that all those who become followers of jesus would also become one: "the glory that you have given me i have given them; so that they may be one, as we are one. i in them and you in me, that they may become completely one." finally jesus prays that "the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and i in them."
the only solution to our divisions is to see that we are all the same. there is no jew or greek, no male or female, no black or yellow or white or brown, no straight or gay. there are only sentient beings, and we are one. may we change our thinking so that we will become not just one nation indivisible, but one world indivisible. may we let go of the fear we have of one another. may we stop condemning each other to categories that exist only in our wrong-thinking minds. may we all be well, may we all be happy, may we all be at peace. shalom.