“Tolerance for Diversity”
I recently had someone contact me about my views on infidelity in marriage, and I was once again struck by how narrowly we construct our beliefs and lives. When the possibilities can be so boundless, and there is so much diversity in the world, it seems saddening to refuse to see more than one small corner of the room.
To be sure, this is probably the corner we’re most comfortable in, and we know the most about; and, looking around the room would require us to challenge some of our underlying beliefs, but isn’t that life? Being able to live with the tension between what we might believe, and what seems to be pushing our boundaries? Isn’t that what Jesus, Mohammed, Gandhi, Buddha, and Mother Teresa did? And what about the other dreamers, teachers and leaders? If you prefer, it’s ‘outside the box’ thinking.
It does stretch us to change and so many of us don’t want to move out of our little myopic world. We speak the same platitudes. We know the rhetoric. We can predict the responses.
Now, given the examples I’ve mentioned, some people will shy away. They weren’t always popular, and well-received. They took unpopular positions and challenged the status quo. People who feel safe in their little corner will want to stay there, and will assume that it will be better for you to stay there too. I grew up in a very rigid, rule-bound denomination, and I thank God for a father who looked around the room, and tried to understand from other perspectives. That’s allowed me the opportunity to actually move around the room, and sit in different places, and view life from a number of vantage points.
We should all have people like this in our lives. Some of the ones I would like to honour are:
Gillian Elizabeth Michel Kirk
Laura Kendra Melanie Kirk
Kenneth Frederick Kirk
Clive Staples Lewis
T J Rose
Dr Gabor Maté
Who’s on your list?