Introduction

The name for this blog comes from the Hebrew word merchab. Merchab is a masculine noun that appears most often in the Psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures. It means a broad or roomy place, an expansive place, a wide place. Read more...

June 5, 2009

A Unifying Vision

On Thursday June 4, 2009 in a speech at Cairo University, Barak Obama articulated a shining vision for the human community.

It is a vision in which all people are free to speak their opinions honestly, openly, and without fear of reprisals. It is a vision in which people approach one another with mutual respect and openness, willing to put aside petty differences in the interests of the greater good.

I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground.

Obama calls us to focus on those things that unite rather than those things that divide.

the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country – you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world. All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort – to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.
In the complex, uncertain and dangerous world in which we live, we can no longer afford the arrogant rhetoric of division. We must be willing to hear those who disagree with us. We must be willing to learn from those who view the world from a different perspective. We must be willing to acknowledge that our way of expressing truth may not be the only way.

The first tool for bringing about Obama’s unifying vision is the willingness to listen to the other. It is more important that I hear you than that I convince you of the truth of my position. I can only learn from you if I am willing to hear you. As long as my ears are closed, I cannot receive the wisdom you have to share. And I will only win the right to be heard, when I have first listened deeply and sensitively to your voice.

The church should be the one place Mr. Obama might point to demonstrate the possibility that such a unifying vision could be a reality in the world community.

Tragically, the lessons Obama seeks to teach are lessons the church seems least able to embody. Increasingly factions within the church seek to divide the community of faith into smaller and smaller special interest groups. At a time when the world needs to see a vision of the uniting power of love, we offer a fractious vision of litigation, squabbling, and inability to move beyond minor differences.

A church that fails to heed Obama’s unifying vision will be judged for the division and violence it sows.

4 comments:

Rob H said...

"A church that fails to heed Obama’s unifying vision will be judged for the division and violence it sows."

What a sad reflection of us who still believe in Christ's message of love to all and for us to spread the word to our neighbours. To invite them to our church family so they can grow and live eternally and to know that He will protect you now on earth, will cause your love to make your family shine, to make you grow in ways you do not know.

Mr Obama’s message was to use his position to ask diverse secular leaders in the world including religious leaders to unite our differences , to forgive each other, to move away from eons old issues so we could all move forward and craft a better world.
A better world that might fall amoungst us because of climate, food shortage, water shortage, medicine for AIDS/ HIV , children's illness, finances.
Yet all this is preventable by sharing, by working together, by companies and governments knowing we are one large earth family who can live in peace and help each other.
Yes, as Christians we have a duty and a message and we need to move beyond our isolated NIMYB complaints.
Otherwise how can we show Christ's love to around us and our families.
Who are we to say that Christ cannot have us work with other faiths to save this world. If not then how do we reach out and we need to remember that Christ is the messenger, we are his servants.

Cheers
Rob

nancy (aka moneycoach) said...

Loved this post. As someone slightly to the "left" (whatever that means, but you probably get the gist) within the Anglican church, I wonder: Would we take your post seriously enough that we would approach some of the churches who have left the Anglican Church (as we know it) and let them know (sincerely! unmistakably sincerely! Incontrovertibly sincerely!) how sorry we are that we couldn't find a way to ensure they knew we welcomed and valued them in our midst too, even though we disagreed with their views?

Mike Morrell said...

Keep blogging! We need more integral/contemplative bloggers.

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