Faces on Faith: Seeing the world through a different lens
As the season of peace and love approaches, we seem to be bombarded with an “us” vs “them” mentality. Tribalism has replaced globalism as the default position. We retreat into our rigid positions and refuse to even listen to another voice. Managing editor Amelia Newcomb, dares her journalists and reporters for the Christian Science Monitor, to see the world differently.
Perhaps we need to be reminded that the three great religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have a centuries old custom of embracing the stranger with hospitality and kindness. The book of Deuteronomy included in both the Hebrew and Bible scriptures implores us: “Thou shalt not vex a stranger or oppress him. Love ye the stranger, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” The lens we’re offered this season, whether in the Koran, the Torah, or the Bible, is to see our own behavior toward others as the ultimate test of who we are.
The “three cups of tea” ritual practiced in some Muslim societies, offers a unique insight into building trust. The first time you have tea, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an “honored guest.” The third time you share a cup of tea, you become “family.” This is a sacred ritual because it is offered by the very poor, to share what they have, and to offer hospitality.
Can you remember the first time you viewed the “Family of Man” photographic exhibit? It’s described as showing the “universality of human actions in the daily life of all the countries of the world: birth, death, work, knowledge, play, all demonstrate there is a “family of man.”‘
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, offers this lens: “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfills the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry—whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuals the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.”
My father was a Methodist minister in the small town of Alliance, Ohio, in the l930’s. Alliance College invited the poet, Edwin Markham, to speak, so my mother asked him to join the family at the parsonage for a chicken dinner before the talk. He autographed her copy of his book of poetry, and then quoted his famous poem.
He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!
-June Sieber, Sanibel Christian Science Church