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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Worlds of Difference: Three Unrelated Stories Prove a Point

by Tom Pappas

For my sophomore year of college I moved out of the dorm and lived with families I had met at church.  Fall semester I stayed with the Dick family and then moved in with the Josts. Here’s what I learned (duh): Families do things differently. Neither the Dick’s nor the Josts’ were anything like my family or each other.

About five years ago I visited a remarkable church in Minneapolis.  The Church of All Nations has no ethnic majority. The bigger groups are Korean and Latin American. This was a church like no other in my experience but it’s the communion process that I will describe. When the time for communion was at hand, we were told that there were two stations for intinction on each side of the chancel. The inner stations were grape juice and on the outside we would find wine. Grape juice OR wine! That was a new one for me. I like new experiences and opportunities.

Three weeks ago I was in Turkey.  We were in Istanbul at the beginning of the protests but my observation is not about that and infinitely more mundane. During our nine days in Turkey I frequently lamented my audacious western mindset.  Even though I’m conditioned that way, who am I to say the way we do anything is the superior way and when they catch up they’ll be better off.

I include a picture of a trash system that I have never seen in the United States. Observe that the crane is attached to the only part of the receptacle that is above ground. When the collection bin is over the truck they open the flaps and a week’s (?) trash falls in and the unit is returned back into the ground. We don’t need to adopt that in America, but bravo to the Turks for teaching me that it doesn’t have to MY norm to be normal.

Mark Twain famously wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…”  Who can argue that God made a remarkably diverse world?  I am learning how much I am called to see creation, creatures and their creativity through God’s magnanimous eyes and not simply my parochial ones.

How about you?

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