There have been a couple of recent events that have made me wonder if people (myself included) really listen sometimes.
I’ve mentioned before about the Daily Prayer for Peace service in my faith tradition. It’s a beautiful–and short–service, held each day at 1:00 CST. At the end of each service, there is a brief statement that invites people to remain after the closing ministry of music, inviting them to “remain in the quiet of this place and pray or meditate as long as you wish.”
Yet quite often, as soon as the service is over, someone will greet a friend in the sanctuary or make some comment on the way out–not waiting until they’re out the door. What part of encouraging quiet in the sanctuary isn’t understood? I know that sometimes they believe that if they’re whispering, it won’t disturb anyone–but whispers (especially sibilant ones!) can be heard very clearly in that place. It’s not that many steps to move into the foyer; is what they want to say SO important and essential that it necessitates disturbing someone else’s quiet meditation?
Does that statement really apply to me?
Then–while I normally try to avoid political issues here–this same question arose as I was listening to some of the speeches of the Republican National Convention. (I’m sure it will also arise during the Democratic National Convention–that just hasn’t happened yet.)
There was a lot of talk last night about what we can do when there is bipartisanship…with the implication being that the Republicans were willing to be bipartisan, but the Democrats weren’t. However, bipartisanship–by its very nature–implies that all parties involved have to be willing to listen to each other…have to be willing to work together to find common ground…have to be willing to let some things go. And unfortunately, compromise–an essential part of bipartisanship–seems to have become a dirty word.
Bipartisanship doesn’t mean “I’m willing to work with you as long as you see everything my way and agree with all the decisions I want to make.” Not in politics and not in religion. Unfortunately, when those two get mixed together and inextricably combined–as they seem to be in the United States currently–there doesn’t seem to be room for compromise and bipartisanship.
So as I listened, I heard a lot of talk about the need to work together…and I wondered if anyone was sitting in the convention and asking themselves in all seriousness, “Does that apply to me?”
Maybe if each of us started asking ourselves that question–regardless of the situation we’re in–just maybe we’d find ways to support each other and solve the problems that currently seem to insurmountable.