One day I was leaving a chapel after praying, and a man who I recognized from previous church activities approached me. He wanted me to sign a petition for a pro-life political candidate. I told him that I don’t know anything about the candidate, so I couldn’t sign it at that time. He became mad at me and said some insulting things before we parted ways.
Later the same day in the city downtown, I passed several young people wearing colored T-shirts and holding clipboards. They were looking for signatures for Planned Parenthood. I got the salesman approach and greeting, and politely declined as I walked by. The young man tried to make me feel guilty.
So, what’s happening with the activists?
An American astronaut in the International Space Station program recently published a testimony about his experience. There was a lot of collaboration between Russia and the US during his training. The American astronauts lived and trained in Russia for a while, and there were a lot of global and cultural issues that were talked about. The astronaut said, “We Americans discussed these issues with our Russian friends in the training program and I learned one of the wonderful things about living in other worlds is you develop perspective. You don’t necessarily agree, but you can appreciate the viewpoints of the other side.”
And that’s why activists focus their energies on taking sides and manipulation and power grabbing and condemnation. It’s because they are not yet interested in knowing the viewpoints of the people on the “other side”. They haven’t yet stepped into the world of the “other side” and gotten new perspective. And that’s what’s needed to appreciate other viewpoints.
I do not get into the activism about immigration. And I don’t judge people who have opinions about immigration. One of the gifts of actually living in two different worlds is it gives perspective from two very different vantage points, a perspective that a very small percentage of people have. So, I like to invite people to come and see the other perspective, to walk in the other side’s shoes.
Jesus calls and invites each of us to follow him. He wants to takes un into his footsteps, to live in his world with him. A big reason for that is that you’re going to see reality from another perspective. In fact, you’re going to see reality from many other people’s perspectives – and God’s. This is what brings about change of heart: leaving behind taking sides, manipulation, power grabbing, and condemnation.
And you’ll appreciate the viewpoints of the other side.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12)