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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday School & Afterwards

Today in Sunday school we discussed the importance of getting different perspectives.  Our lesson writer told about the different perspective of a city when viewed from a tall building from where street noises are muted.  Likewise, we can be too close to issues and need to get new perspectives.  It was mentioned that we tend to accept our point of view as the only true perspective.  For example, we view a pond of water and think “how beautiful.”  We are seeing only one reality—for example we are not seeing the microscopic reality which is just as real and valid.  Different realities in human affairs can make communication very difficult.  Vacations can be of value for they get us away from the routine.  We return home refreshed with a new viewpoint.  The biggest perceptual change is the religious one.  When we see less of “me” and more of others we are learning the love of God.  This shift in point of view has significant consequences.  As the scripture lesson for the day put it: “To [God] who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20).

After church Mary had lunch with Kathy and me.  When lunch was over and I was driving her home, Mary asked, “What are you drinking?”  I said an “orange soda.”  She said that she and Kathy disapproved.  She was only joking, but it made me think how social disapproval is a downer for me.  I don’t like to displease or irritate others.  Then I thought that this was a standard occurrence for many politicians.  For a US president, for example, roughly half the country is of a different party and is likely to criticize most of his actions, maybe even consider him a Satan.  I wonder how this must feel from the president’s point of view. He would have to focus, I imagine, on what actions he thinks are best despite the criticism and be somewhat fatalistic regarding his success or lack of it.  (I’ll do the best I can, and what happens, happens.)  He would have to live with the thought that some people hate his guts no matter what.  Nothing he could possibly do or say would change this.  He does not, will not, and cannot have their best wishes.  Yet, to be a statesman, he cannot put them on an enemies list.  He must respect their right to have their own point of view.   A statesman views the opposition as the loyal opposition—loyal to the country and loyal to the truth as his opponents see it.  He assumes they are being guided by their best lights.  This is active goodwill, and surpasses all human understanding.  That is why, when we say “God bless America” we should ask it for ourselves and for our opposition.

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