On a recent Freakonomics Podcast Olympia Snow 34 year Congresswoman & Senator from Maine, said “We are experiencing the worst polarization since the end of Reconstruction in 1879. Analysis shows that in 1982 there were 58 senators that came between the most conservative democrats and the most liberal republicans. Today, for the fourth time in a row, zero senators come into that category. In the House of Representatives in 1982 there were 344 in that category, today there are only 4.”
“We cluster in theological groups, gender groups, age groups, ethnic groups, educational and economic groups. We criticize freely those who disagree with us, don’t look like us, don’t act like us and don’t even like what we like.” Disunity in Christ, Christina Cleveland
-The Book of Jonah is about God’s love for others and humanity’s ongoing struggle to embrace others even if they are our enemy.
-When God sends Jonah towards the others, Jonah runs the other way.
-The Pagan is telling the prophet to seek God.
-The people who are nothing like God are the one only ones acting like God’s people!
-God’s love for one in no way excludes love for the other, in fact it commands it.
Let me ask 5 questions and give 5 potential categories to see if we can identify what groups of people feel like the others in our life.
- What groups seem to irritate you simply with their lifestyle, their beliefs, or their behavior? The way they dress, talk, think or act?
- Who do you tend to look down on with contempt and suspicion?
- Who are you likely to try to avoid at a party, at the office, in your apartment?
- Who do you wish could just avoid altogether in your office, your neighborhood, in your life?
- Who do you fear will reject you if you if initiated a relationship with them?
- Maybe it is others who are Economically different: Rich, Poor rednecks, blue-collar workers, people who live in Houses in the Hills, or boxes under the bridge.
- Maybe it is others who are Culturally or Racially different: Black, White, Latino, European
- Maybe it is others who have Different Convictions: Muslims, Scientologists, Non Christians, Hyper Conservative Christians, Trump supporters, Hillary backers, Conservatives, Liberals
- Maybe it is others who Identify differently: like the LGBT community, for those in that community your “others” might be those who speak out against you.
- Maybe it is others who are Morally Different: how they spend their money, their free time, the lifestyle choices they make like the Annoying neighbors who smoke outside your window or let their dog crap in your yard (hypothetical of course).