Look for the similarities rather than differences

In a BBC interview, when speaking of her move to San Francisco, author Isabel Allende said “I have traveled all over the world and one thing that amazes me is that I can communicate with people. My story may be different but emotionally we are all the same. I tend to see the similarities in people and not the differences.” I can only imagine such a straightforward piece of advice must have ancient roots. Interestingly, Stephen Covey expresses the opposite sentiment when explaining the value of synergy: “strength lies (sic) in differences not similarities.” As we still live in a world where mothers are the primary caregivers, girls most often grow up learning from someone of the same sex. Men grow up learning from someone of the opposite sex. Women learn by sameness; men learn by contrast. This might well be why women are more often drawn to Allende and men are more likely to read Covey.

Romans 14:13-14
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.
Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block
or obstacle in your brother's way. As one who is in the Lord Jesus,
I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself.
But if anyone regards something as unclean,
then for him it is unclean.

The Romans passage could cut two ways on the issue of whether we ought to focus on similarities or differences. Verses like the one above teach that we have God as a judge who frees us from the task of judgment. We don't have to be threatened by others who are different than we are. From there, we can choose to let differences be as they are and not concentrate on them, but instead find kinship in our similarities with others. Conversely, if we are not threatened when others are different from us, we can embrace those differences and examine them without a need to prove ourselves right, or another wrong. Such muscular engagement need not bruise us. Instead, we can embrace both difference and sameness as valid ways of knowing and learning. The passage in Romans which is teaching Christians of different understandings how to live with one another can be used to justify either path. There is value in learning by sameness and there is value in learning through difference. Each of has our own path and our own readiness.

Views: 161

Comment

You need to be a member of QuakerQuaker to add comments!

Join QuakerQuaker

Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.


You can also make a one-time donation.

Latest Activity

Noah Merrill updated their profile
1st day (Sun)
Kirby Urner posted a video

A Pensive Cowboy

Another American sounding off on various issues. Stetson hat.
7th day (Sat)
Anne Hutchinson shared Mike Shell's discussion on Facebook
5th day (Thu)
Paulette Meier updated their profile
4th day (Wed)
Paulette Meier liked Anne Hutchinson's blog post A Japanese Filmmaker’s Perspective on Filming a Quaker Blessing for the Urakami Cathedral Cross
8th month 13
Mike Shell replied to Mike Shell's discussion 'Facing hostile nationalism: Quakers in Nazi Germany and now'
"Thanks for the question, Keith. Yes, I wrote these words, though they were approved by the other…"
8th month 12
Keith Saylor replied to Mike Shell's discussion 'Facing hostile nationalism: Quakers in Nazi Germany and now'
"America is rounding up and imprisoning people labeled as so-called “illegal aliens,”…"
8th month 12
Laura Rediehs updated their profile
8th month 11

© 2019   Created by QuakerQuaker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service