Thursday, December 31, 2009

Difference and The Other


If there's one thing I would want to end the year on and begin the new year being conscientious about, it would be to understand difference.

Fundamental to all of our social struggles for greater democracy, morality, and equality is to consider deeply the way we relate to other people around us.

Undeniably we will see differences with them. These differences, however, when socially stigmatized can lead to violence against them. For example, we happen to live in a society (for whatever, sometimes mysterious, but at the very least fraudulent reasons), which considers who we fall in love with, to be not only important, but moral or immoral. One would think love would be one of those emotions that would be beyond the pale, however, backed by pseudo-religious arguments, "homosexuality" is considered a "sin." I put "homosexuality" in quotes, because it's not exactly clear what that is, as it is a fairly modern concept that can only be understood given certain assumptions. For example, in the Greco-Roman world there was no concept of "gay" or "straight", a person had different forms and expressions of human intimacy and contact.

Other characteristics such as poverty (class), ethnicity (race), and gender (however many there may be!), are all used to mobilize tremendous marginalization, targeting, and social and physical violence.

Jesus did not exclude but included, those who chose to live a radical lifestyle that did not compromise its ideals of inclusion of even the most rejected of their society (at that time they were "lepers," prostitutes, and tax collectors). If we are called as a "Christian" nation to build God's Kingdom on earth, then we must learn to manage our knee-jerk revulsion for The Other who may seem, act or look different than/ from us.

This will require from us as a radical, a revolutionary approach to living in a society that is rife with differences great and small, meaningful and arbitrary. We will have to dig deep to find the best, the most courageous, radically honest, and sincere qualities to purge or transform the ugliness inherited and taught to us by our society, parents, and friends that separate god's children one from another.

I pray we can be this courageous as a society and not give in to fear, hate, and exclusion.



--The Brain Demon

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