A little child shall lead them so Isaiah reminds us. What do you think would happen in our families, churches, communities and world is we followed this advice posted by a third grade class in (does not matter where)
“Beyond Tolerance” is a program I listened to on NPR the other day. I agreed with just about everything I heard from Aspen Baker’s idea of www.provoice.org To provide a place where people could say whatever is true in their inner heart struggle without receiving judgment or negative reaction of any kind but receiver rather understanding and compassion regardless of right and wrong thinking in the family, social, religious, or political world views. It is not about changing peoples World View. It is about expanding the capacity, commitment and ability to embrace others as well. To be inclusive more than exclusive. To embrace coalescence of differences rather than coexistence of differences. To shift from a world of judgment and biases based on differences. In a world of judgment the injustice of shaming and blaming, embracing right over wrong, perpetuates a need for tolerance as an inadequate desire for social community. The true need is for humanity to embrace compassion, coalescence and acceptance.
I thought what if we could think of it in a different way.
Tolerance is putting up with something but not embracing it. Embracing and accepting others who look think feel and act differently, is transformative. It is saying, I am who I am, and I can let you be who you are without judging myself as better/right or you as bad/wrong.
When God came into the garden of eden that is exactly how God approached Adam and Eve: with love and compassion desiring to understand them not judge them, to assist their growth not punish them, to be right in his heart toward them to transform their shaming and blaming parts into caring and compassionate parts.
So let’s embrace “Before Tolerance” as going back to the beginning “as it was, and ever shall be World without end”. God does not teach or model tolerance but acceptance and embracing to a healing of hearts, a restorer of relationships, and caretaker of connectivity and community. Judgement produces tolerance. Mercy and grace produce acceptance and embracing of all, regardless of anything.
The heavenly picture of heaven itself is found in Revelation 7:9-10
“I saw before me a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, tribe, people, cultures and languages standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were all wearing “white robes’ (a symbol of unifying and healed community. all the same yet all different and mutually and maturely respected) and were waving palm branches in their hands. And they all (without exception and with all accepting of one another) cried out in a loud voice. ‘Salvation belongs to our (collectively) God who sits (Like a triumphant Lion) on the throne and to the Lamb (who taught all to set aside their ways of thinking and embrace through surrender, God’s way of releasing them from the bandage to decay (Romans 8:21) to embracing the liberty (freedom from judgment) and justice (deliverer of hope) of being the children of God.
“Before Tolerance” there was only love, peace, acceptance and the embrace of all things regardless of anything and one day we will find our way back to that or God will help us to do so..
I was on Blair Academy Campus for Grandparents day. Proud ( in this sense a good thing) that my grandson is not only there but making a positive mark on his colleagues and teachers and they on him. As I walked the campus this marker became interesting to me.
Okay may be it is my age. Maybe many students come and go and never give it a thought or even a look. This is the Blair family cemetery up on a hill over looking the campus and in the background the Presbyterian Church that Rev Blair pastored. The pillar monument in the middle is to Rev. Blair the founder of the church and the academy. Blairstown holds its own treasure of family history, but the short story of the school pays a huge complement to the man and the church. They in the mid 80’s decided to let go of the child they had born and turn it over to its own destiny, developmentally speaking to its own adult hood. The local presbyter, the church and the leadership turned the church over to its own independent and responsible Board of trustees. It’s future was not sealed but released and refreshed and in time replenished. To do so they had to let go of control (humility), gift it to its own future (generosity), and watch and honor its leadership and their decisions (supportive and honoring). This is leading with integrity and excellency are current hallmarks of the school and a tribute to its origins.
Jim Collins would say this is moving from “good to great” (See the book by Jim Collins of the same title “Good to Great”.
Yes I saw all of that in a day.
Please see all of that in this simple picture.
This is a picture taken just a few weeks ago at my 2/3rds of a Century Birthday!!!
For the first time in nearly 10 years all were together in one place celebrating Hubby, Dad’s and Grandpa’s.
It was great to have everyone together: To have Karin and Javier (18) home from Korea where they have been for 8 years, to have Jamie and Nicole with my newest grandson (Bradley James, 6 months old), and to have Jen and Emil and my three beautiful granddaughters: Makayla (10), Kelsey 8 and Calista (3), and my loving and supportive wife Debbie.
Life is not about correcting people who make mistakes or in your judgment do wrong but in connecting with people with love and grace, goodness and mercy. maturity and mutual respectfulness. It was a great day. Thanks be to God.