angel, blessing, book study, conversation, divisiveness, Don Postema, election, Jacob, persepctives, point of view, respect, Space for God, Thanksgiving, The Sophia Center for Spirituality, understanding, violence
Last evening I had a graced conversation with four other women. Our sharing began a couple of years ago in a book study that was scheduled to last five or six weeks. At the end of that time, it was clear that no one wanted to terminate the conversation so we decided to meet once a month and delegated the facilitator of the book group to find texts – either a short passage for one gathering or a book that would serve us for several meetings. Last night only five of us gathered for the conclusion of our consideration of a very meaningful book called Space for God by Don Postema. The last three chapters are entitled Wrestling with God, Prayer and Justice/Compassion and The Goal Is Glory. Right away we were faced with a bit of the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel and our conversation moved – not surprisingly – to the state of our post-election nation. The wonder of it all, however, was that although all of us were not of the same mind about the result and had not voted in the same way for president we managed to talk about the issues rather than personalities of the candidates. We talked about perspectives and the difficulty of understanding one another’s point of view. We lamented the divisiveness and violence that is present now in the populace. In the end, we were most grateful for a safe place to talk about our differences and we moved from a place of struggle to the desire not only for the reign of justice but also of compassion. We recognized that an acceptance of difference made it possible to participate in praise of what God has done in our lives and voiced a desire to hold the tensions that exist, praying that peace will be the outcome of our willingness to create it.
Honest conversation is not an easy thing to achieve if we are most interested in not “upsetting the apple cart.” If we are able to trust our companions and engage those with whom we differ, enough to speak of what is really important without blaming (something that did not seem to happen even locally during this election cycle), I believe the blessing will be deeper and stronger relationship among us. We agreed to disagree last evening and came away with deeper respect and admiration for one another. As the Thanksgiving holiday dawns, we are hoping that many families will have this same experience, knowing that it will take some preparatory prayer to achieve that outcome. Let that be our commitment for the next several days.