Pages 35 – 37……… The Nature of What it Means to be a Christian living in a Multi-Cultural World with Implications for Interchurch Families and those who are seeking Christian Unity by M.J. Glauber
July, August and September 2013 Volume 24; Edition 3
The ARK, A Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families
International Standard Serial Number: ISSN 1943-6467 (print)
ISSN 2160-682X (online)
The Nature of What it Means to be a Christian living in a Multi-Cultural World
We Are All Interconnected
There are a multitude of quotes coming from many perspectives, including the Bible itself, that highlight the fact that we are all interconnected. None of us can actually survive all alone. We need each other to become whole.
We are not called to become identical to one another, but to love one another. Each of us may have been given certain gifts, talents, and skills, but none of these are of any use except in community with each other.
Interchurch Families, those who are seeking Christian Unity, those who are seeking global peace and prosperity, those who are actively engaged in interfaith and/or interchurch dialogues that promote the creation of bridges between two or more diverse cultures or historic religious divisions may find inspiration in the following quotes that come from all around the world and from different historical eras.
Please know that all of the quotes that follow provide a similar insight to a basic need that we are all in need of loving each other, as God has loved us.
As simple as this may seem loving and being loved seem to be one of the most difficult tasks that humanity has ever been requested of us by our creator. In spite of the fact that many have acknowledged our interconnectedness, we still seem to struggle to find the ways that we are naturally connected one to the other in society in general.
On the other hand, interchurch families, have made a loving connection across an historic division. This marriage seems so natural to us that we may even fail to see the potential that the gift of our lived example can hold for the world.
Wikipedia explains that “Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of ego-lessness.
All of the major world religions value “humility”
The dictionary definition for being humble explains that it includes characteristics of serving others, to be unpretentious, to be lacking arrogance and excessive pride.
In Mark 12:13, we read “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
If any lesson should be taken from what is required of us, the one given to us in Mark 12:13 should be noted for its importance for all people in all time periods.
Here are further quotes about humility and our interconnectedness with each other.
“Humility is not the denial of our special talents, but the understanding that those talents never stand alone.
We are not solo performers, but members of a symphony.
The conductor may give us our individual moments to shine, but we never play the music of life alone.
We are accompanied by others and dependent upon them.
With enough practice, any one of us can let our sounds soar above the rest, taking pride in what we do, but we always return to support the next person to play, for our lives were composed in harmony, our gifts best heard when shared.”
~ The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw
John 13:34-35 34 I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. 35 This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
1 Thessalonians, Chapter 4 Mutual Charity. 9 On the subject of mutual charity you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.
Leviticus 19:18 – Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.” ~ Herman Melville
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” ~Thomas Merton, Love and Living
“We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us–that we’re all broken, all beautifully imperfect.” ~ Emilio Estevez
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” ~ Chief Seattle
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tired into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.”
~ Brené Brown,
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You are
“It is man’s social nature which distinguishes him from the brute creation. If it is his privilege to be independent, it is equally his duty to be inter-dependent. Only an arrogant man will claim to be independent of everybody else and be self-contained.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Our ancient experience confirms at every point that everything is linked together, everything is inseparable.” ~Dalai Lama XIV
And that is just a sampling of all of the quotes that exist on this topic “We are all interconnected”
Implications For Interchurch Families
We may each and everyone of us be imperfect. Although we were, meaning all of us, each and everyone of us, created in God’s image.
God is perfect, but we, as human beings, are imperfect. We can grow in our love and understanding.
We seek to be as much like Jesus, as Christians as we possibly can become. However, we are still frail human beings. In spite of our best efforts, we often fail. God is right there with us on our journey; we are never alone.
God loves us and has given us one basic and simple task in life. We are born so we are expected to be in and of the world. All that God requires of us is to love our neighbors.
Although our sole task is to love our neighbors, historically this has proven to be a very difficult task. Centuries of war and other historical divisions of one kind or another highlight that we have failed to be able to love each other as we should. What is it that gets in our way that prevents us from loving our neighbors, those people who may seem to be very different from us although we are all part of this global community that God has created?
We are interconnected to all of creation, God’s Creation, which includes all of humanity, every plant, every animal, all drops of water, the air we all breathe, every stone and every grain of sand.
Our task has been given to us all by our Divine Creator. Interchurch Families have bridged an historical divide through love. We live “a good example” for the world in spite of the fact that our gift of a lived unity in a very divided world may not be recognized for the positive attributes to be found within our lived experience.
Our lived example of unity across historical barriers is that of God working through our lives.
It is love that encourages us to open our hearts to those Others.
~ M.J. Glauber