As spelled out in the previous blog, these two actions are what’s driving the masses and simultaneously destroying people in the western world. It is obviously our go-to, and it’s become our life sentence in a polarizing time. I provided 4 examples from 4 participants in previous pub gatherings that do not fit the mold of the average Denver pub theologian; they fit the mold of the average western world posture, though. Remember, we – Brew Theology – don’t roll like that… and I believe we are truly onto something of genuine merit within a world looking for hope, belonging, change and goodness.
So, where does this leave us?
Well, what motivates people to feel the need to fix others and abandon either the conversation or another person/ group altogether?
Fear has been one of the greatest motivators since the dawn of civilization, and we can still see fear work itself into business, politics, religion, families, etc. Yet, it doesn’t provide anything worthy of praise, and it only makes us feel more depressed at the end of the day. Fear drives us, and it simultaneously cripples us.
So, in order to “fix” the problem of people feeling the need to fix one another, we need to abandon fear. Once we abandon fear, we will be okay with sitting in a room with people from different walks of life. We live in the age of pluralism and it’s not going away. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, etc. are all around us. The best way to make the world and your community a better place is to get rid of this deep-seated raging fear, and rather be motivated by compassion, love, beauty and one’s truest presence.
Rather than saying, “That’s stupid. You’re wrong. I can’t deal with this anymore” why not say, “Hmmmm. Help me understand where you are coming from! Why do you think this way?” We need to stop feeling threatened by another ideology and belief system that is vastly different from the one we carry; we must lean in and be present – not in order to “fix” the other, but to understand the “other.” And once we are present, and our lives are filled with compassion, we will begin to see humans again. Scapegoating will cease once we recognize it and call it out. It’s critical we start seeing one another as real humans with beating hearts (Note: This doesn’t mean we don’t call out abuse and oppression as I wrote about in Part 1).
We are all connected.
We share the same soil.
We breathe the same air.
We carry the same substance.
And while someone may choose to worship in a place different from you, and someone else chooses to do other things with their time and reject organized religion all together, it is best to start seeing some light within the eyes of the “other” in order to live side-by-side in the days ahead.
We may actually learn something from someone who holds another belief about the divine (or lack thereof). We may be inclined to give the next generation a shot of not isolating children in a bubble, but giving them the opportunity to experience the world with fresh eyes and child-eyes wonder.
Just ask your children about the differences that we fight over when it comes to religion. They simply won’t get it. They’ll only get it when they see us love and embrace the human who lives across the street, and they’ll also see it when we exclude and hurt others as well.
The pub is all about having open arms, open minds and a willingness to choose presence in the face of difference. We don’t have a shared intellectual-belief system. We have shared values, though. This is what makes it work, and it is good work I feel will help move us forward as a greater society.
Start with self.
Abide in the spaces that seem unnatural, and transcend the awkwardness by allowing the self to sit in it. It’s not so bad. Like I said, you may find something new, and you may find appreciation and mutual respect.
It starts within…
As the writer of 1 John in the New Testament reminds us, “Perfect loves drives out fear.”