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Monday, January 21, 2013

Reckoning Reconciliation

Sometimes reconciliation is easier than it looks. Sometimes we think of a whole remote class of things and wonder how we could ever be reconciled to it. For example, if I were one of those people whom the computer revolution passed by, I might feel hopelessly estranged from the whole world of computers. However, now with just a small investment I can purchase a computer myself and get hands on experience with it. Thereby, I could possibly completely change my viewpoint of them from suspicion and fear to acceptance and even love and advocacy. 

During the Vietnam war I went to prison rather than submit to the draft. Therefore, through the years I've had some estrangement from the military. But rather early on, I met a Vietnam veteran and we developed a fast friendship. This served to substantially change my feelings of estrangement.

I remember during my college years an estrangement from scientific subjects. Now with science coverage readily accessible on television, I have a chance of mending this. In fact, currently I'm reading a book by Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted Word: Science as a Candle in the Dark). He is a very personable writer and conveys a sense of friendship as well as understanding. I would much have cherished spending several hours with him in conversation at a coffee shop.

My brother and his wife are Methodist ministers, and so was my father. Even so outside the family ties I had a somewhat distant relationship with clergy. Now I am meeting regularly with a clergy member for breakfast and am gaining a better appreciation for the entire profession and its contributions.

I have felt apart from Muslim believers. But after attending just 5 weeks of mosque services with my son, I have a much kinder perspective on this faith.

My point really comes down to a simple one—we should not be intimated by a conjectured difficulty (almost to the point of determining impossibility) of the task of reconciliation, but simply do those little things that can profoundly affect our viewpoint.

Which brings me again to Carl Sagan and his skepticism regarding religion. In today's reading of Through the Year with Jimmy Carter, President Carter (something of a scientist himself) writes “Dear Lord, may I accept the wonderful revelation that through faith in Christ I can be reconciled with you.” I think that if Carl Sagan had just gotten to meet Jesus he would come to believe in him—certainly at least in the sense that I believe in the goodness and integrity of my boss at work. Let us never fail to do those little things that extend empathy and understanding.

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