I am part of a group of women who just read and discussed the book A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community by John Pavlovitz. We had deep and interesting discussions on the topic, sharing experiences from our lives and thinking about a different way of being in the world.
Being open to engage people who may look different from us or who may see the world from a different viewpoint than we do takes courage. Pavlovitz gave examples from his own life of situations where people discussed, debated and, yes, argued as they tried to make the table larger. He talked about the messiness of such a venture.
Here's what he said about that, "The bigger table isn't one you run from at the first sign of discord. It is based on the lost sacred art of staying." And further, he added, "Expanding the table isn't for the faint of heart or the impatient, which is why so few people actually attempt it, but there is something transformative on the other side of it. ... We need to stop talking and we need to walk shoulder to shoulder with people in real, messy, authentic community—until we all can see it for ourselves."
Yes! I believe he's right about the art of staying—staying in the relationship that would be easier to drop because you see the world so differently, talking about why you see it the way you do and listening to why the other person sees it the way they do, perhaps even learning a lot in the process! And we do need to stop talking and actually practice "real, messy, authentic community."
What might it take for you to do that? I'm pondering that myself these days—since I see the divide becoming greater and greater in our society. One thing is will take is courage, I'm certain of that.