In a previous post, I wrote about the racial diversity of Santa Fe.
But a different type of diversity encouraged me, humbled me and taught me to be more open to those around me.
During my week in Santa Fe, I met writers who were Jews, Buddhists, atheists, Shamans, Christians and a mixture of faiths including one presenter who labeled herself a Bu-Jew.
We laughed together, learned together and connected over bowls of green chile stew, creamy guacamole and quinoa power bowls.
Nobody pulled out a copy of the Four Spiritual Laws, tips from the Torah or quotations from Buddha.
We simply found common ground as writers, accepting each other’s differences while building relationships.
Since then, several of my new friends have followed me on Facebook, added their email addies to my newsletter and committed to my blog. I feel honored to have such a rich diversity of new friends.
After one stimulating lunch where several of us shared our love of everything Santa Fe, I walked back to my hotel room. My experience told me the same lunch with a group of Baptists, Methodists and/or free-spirited anointed charismatics would no doubt have resulted in arguments, confrontations and insistence on what the Apostle Paul meant in his numerous argumentative writings.
Yet that type of spiritual blasting did not happen with this diverse group. We simply began relationships built on our love of words.
Of course, I hoped the eternal Word was reflected in my speech, in my manner, in my acceptance of these dear creatives. And I believe that my future writings will make an impact, if for no other reason than curiosity to be explored.
But I understood more clearly than ever before the need to push away from our comfortable zones and wooden pews, to be involved and engaged with people from every faith walk – or no faith at all.
The scriptures call Christians to be salt and light. But too much salt gathered in one place makes for a bitter pot of soup.
Too much light blinds us to the realities of the needs around us – to those who believe differently yet are still vitally important to the God who reaches out to them.
I am more determined than ever before to use my words to embrace and engage rather than to confront. Although I love Jesus more than life itself, his example was to love all and remind the religious leaders how hypocrisy destroys.
How can we share hope with the world around us? By letting our hearts invite friendly debate, by refusing to consider ourselves as experts on every question, by building relationships just because we care for our fellow humans.
How can we best reflect the hope that drives us? By remembering the old campfire song and living it out: “They will know we are Christians by our love.”
©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
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