We are in a dangerous pattern. Communities are becoming smaller, tighter, and more exclusive. Clearly, there are exceptions. Yet, overall, from the views of my experience and reflecting on the news, we are not expanding our boundaries. It is very dangerous. Whatever we are as a community, big and small, natural and intentional, and even by convenience, we define by the relationships we have with and to each other.
As I look to the news, it is far too easy to provide examples that support my perspective. Even if limited to recent steps, I find far too many experiences shaped by fear, anger, and bias. Rather than focus on the negative, perhaps we can and should define the communities we find ourselves in by our aspirations and hope. Imagine a world with communities shaped by viewpoints defined by the impact of individual decisions made in context of the whole. What would it be like if I made my buying decisions based on the impact after the item was no longer useful? What if I chose my drycleaner based on the impact to the environment? Would I ever buy something made of a rare hardwood?
The reality is that you and I live in a number of communities. Our immediate family is one. The people that live within close proximity are another. Those we hold close to our hearts are a third. When one considers the different groups, the list becomes much larger and longer.
The fact is that you and I have more influence than we think we do. We touch the lives of our communities. We help shape the choices and perspectives of our communities. We can be the difference to those in our communities, for good or for the worse.
Today will be one of intentional inclusiveness. “Let the desert and its camps raise a tune, calling the Kedar nomads to join in. Let the villagers in Sela round up a choir and perform from the tops of the mountains. Make God's glory resound; echo his praises from coast to coast.” (Isaiah 42.11, 12)
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