Thursday, November 13, 2008

Worlds are colliding...or maybe hugging

I have lived in many worlds across varying political, religious, regional, and academic spectrums. Granted, there are more worlds I have not lived in than there are worlds I have, but having lived in a few sometimes highly contrasted worlds has given me exposure to some differences and similarities between worlds.

For an example of differences, in one religious world being countercultural has meant being against gay marriage whereas in another religious world being countercultural has meant marshalling resources through art to fight against human trafficking. Those are very different perspectives on morality and mission.

For an example of similarities, each political group seems to believe that their perspective is common sense and that any honesty and thinking person would arrive at roughly the same political perspective.

Another example of similarities is that people within one world find it hard to have conversations with people in a world different than their own. Not only do they find it hard to have these conversations, they rarely place themselves into contexts in which such a conversation would be possible. It takes effort, courage, and self-confrontation to effectively place onself in a context to have such a conversation and to converse without quitting because a quick convert cannot be made.

I will add one important caveat here: the less social power a person has the more that person is required to live in other people's worlds and therefore just living requires navigating such conversations. It is not a choice people with less social power have, but rather a necessity for survival.

So, to come to my point: I think that Obama being president (on Jan 20th, 2009) is necessarily two worlds coming together. A Black man (who is really biracial) is governing a mostly white (roughly 75%) nation. The question for us all is whether this coming together will be a collision or a hug. Will we CRASH into each other or will we find a kind a respectful way to connect?

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