Encouragement for the Journey 14 July 2013

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Encouragement for the Journey 14 July 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

Candle Flame

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

Last Sunday we celebrated grandparents and grandchildren. During our service we shared some of our stories and I mentioned how within this community of faith there is a storehouse of stories that needed to be told, shared and heard. Later in the year, I will mention a way we may do this.

For this week’s, Encouragement for the Journey, I want to mention an old saying my mother would often say to me: ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. I occasionally remember this when the word familiar comes into a conversation or into my awareness. This saying is used in the context of relationships. Where we may hold another person as contemptible, a response to one whose behaviour we no longer respect or we may know someone so well, we no longer respect them as a person we treat them as an object.

Terry Pratchett, (author) in his novel: ‘I shall wear midnight’ says:

Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.”

He is so right, it is very easy to lose sight of people as human beings, and see them as an object to manipulate and to control, to satisfy our own needs and desires or ideology. The history of our World is filled with many instances were human beings have treated others as objects instead of people. In our time, the Holocaust, the atrocities in Bosnia, Civil wars in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola to name a few.

In case we may be tempted to see ourselves as very different and totally respectful of other humans. Let us be aware. We can very easily drift into ways of being which are not always respectful, which may lead to treating another as an object instead of a person.

Treating people as objects can easily be applied to stories. We may quickly dismiss a story because we have heard it before. When this occurs, the magic is gone and we miss out on hearing an aspect of what the story may want to say to us.

Stories are meant to be told and told again and again, to be listened too with an attentive and responsive ear, to be savoured, and allowed to warm our heart. In this way, they may teach us to treat each other with care, compassion and respect as fellow human beings, no matter our race, gender, sexual orientation, religious practice or ethnicity.

Meanwhile peace in our story telling and hearing

Alf