Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Zulus, Lawyers, Buddhists and John Travolta

In one of our early morning talks as we get ready for the day, Dave brought up an article he had read about some of the most highly successful men in the US, in business and the arts.  One of the things they had in common was that they enjoyed being in the company and learning from people who were completely different from themselves.  They liked picking the brains of truck drivers, cartoonists,  right-wing conservative preachers, left-wing hippies, school teachers, accountants, soldiers, comedians - anyone who could give them a different perspective on life.  They didn't necessarily become best buddies or share their most intimate thoughts with them, but they were willing to listen. learn and see the world through their eyes, which helped them become much more innovative in their field.

Don't ask me where this article is, I'm just telling you what my husband told me as he was shaving one morning. He's a pretty reliable source of news information, so I trust his word.  But it got me thinking, how many times has my life been enriched by talking with someone who was completely different from me?

Those times in college that conservative Jewish students complained about the way Christians proselytize (evangelize for those who only speak Christian), I may not have had the best answer on the tip of my tongue, but the experience helped me better understand the huge gap between our two beliefs that I thought were so similar.  When at 20 years old, I lived with the atheist feminist lawyer's family with her college professor husband whose children were only allowed to watch PBS - I was exposed to a very different world I knew nothing about. Their dinner parties with the intellectual crowd were fascinating although I know for a fact that I embarrassed them a few times with my insensitive comments about faith and Christianity.  The Jamaican roommate who invited me to her home for Thanksgiving, the young Korean Buddhist monks who had never met an American and asked if I knew John Travolta, the 65-year-old prostitute from Tennessee who wore her white hair in a mohawk, the Zulu witchdoctor who threw away her witchcraft to accept Jesus, the suburban moms, the theology students and the demon-possessed.  Every one of them has helped me see the world in a new and deeper way and to see that behind every quirky story, there lies a soul and spirit that needs God whether they know it or not.

My closest friends may come from very different backgrounds, but they all build up my faith and keep me focused on God and His promises.  But reaching out to others who are different is what keeps my faith tested and challenged, and even more, teaches me to see the potential that everyone has to be healed of their problems no matter where they came from.  As funny and strange and different as we are, we're really a lot more alike than we realize.


Leeanne said...

Very true!!
I love the way you express you'r self!!....

suLmaaa said...

Wow. I never looked towards people with this perspective in mind. I will certainly do this more often. Its so neat all the different people we meet!

Marcia Pires said...

This is a great, great post. We often do not think on how other people impact our life or to a certain exchange we are even closed to new opinions, outside our Christian world, but the truth is that we learn a lot interacting with those of different backgrounds, line of thinking, way of living. When I read the title I asked myself - what do they have in common? And when we meet different people, we realise how much more open we need to be to be able to reach them out in their level or understanding. I enjoyed very much reading your post.

Divya said...

I agree, and I loved reading this article.

We are all so different in this world, different backgrounds, religions, lifestyles, sometimes completely different lives. We can learn so much even if we completely disagree with each other. Imagine how it must have been for apostle Paul to travel to many countries and interact with people who were completely different from him. He was firm in his faith, but flexible before the cultural differences.

The people who hardly ever make a difference are those who are closed up completely and see everyone else through a special lens of intolerance shared with hypocrisy and a judgmental attitude.

Cindy said...

It seems difficult to reach out the one different from us. But if we choose to follow Lord Jesus we give our best to do what He had done. He reached out for us, very very different from Him and unselfishly give Himself, for us to know He is willing.

Cindy from Manila

Raquel Parras said...

It is necessary to set aside the judgments and try to learn good things from others, who gave us better example of this was Jesus...***