Encouragement for the Journey
Greetings fellow Traveller,
Last Monday, I had the privilege of attending the Bruce Mason Centre as a guest to witness Odion and his family becoming New Zealand Citizens. There were approximate 250 people from the North Shore area becoming citizens. The rich variety of culture and ethnic diversity of the various people’s becoming New Zealand citizens is not just a passing fad. Rather, it is the way our society will continue into the foreseeable future. New Zealand indeed Auckland is truly a multi – cultural city. We often forget that once a country opens its doors to immigration and the subsequent variety of cultures that enter its borders. It will in turn, be forever shaped by the mutual giving and receiving what flows from each culture to another in an ever unfolding synergy of relationships.
To appreciate and understood what it means to live in a multicultural society is never easy. Some see multiculturalism as a political ideology, others as a philosophical theory of human kind. For me it is a way of seeing, a perspective if you like, on our human existence, which offers a rich variety of human colour and flavour, like a salad bowl of beauty and wonder.
We often forget that we each grew up in a cultural structured world. Within that world we organise ourselves and develop social relationships which offer meaning and significance which contributes to placing value on our own particular cultural identity.
Different cultures represent different systems and visions of what it means to be human and of course their understanding of living in peace and harmony. Living as we do in our 21st century world, it is impossible to live in a protective bubble that sanitises us from other cultures.
We are always enriched and blessed when a person of another culture shares with us something of their life and values. If we can respect another’s culture and the creative energy it displays and not impose one’s culture over another, we are on the way to living in harmony and peace.
We cannot appreciate the wonder, differences and beauty of another’s culture unless we learn to appreciate the wonder, beauty and differences within our own culture. Once we value our own culture and its unique differences, we are more able to be tolerant and respect the presence of another’s culture within our communities. This for me is an essential aspect of our journey of faith and life.