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Reflection on Diversity and God

Written by Fran Jones, Elder

During times of tribulation we often call out to God to help us try to understand. Having watched the recent news of the conflict between Israel and Gaza brings me to question why this hatred continues?

Violent conflict, heated controversy, and loss of innocent civilian lives including children makes me so sad. We continue to live in a world that struggles with issues of prejudice and preconceptions, and anti-Asian hatred and the continuation of racism which hasn’t resolved in over 400 years in America is in the limelight.

I’ll never forget the impact one of my teachers made on me in High School over 60 years ago. It was a Civics class where we were talking about prejudices, and he told us that if infants of different races were raised together from birth, they would always grow in love for each other and never develop any racial prejudice. The only way the result could change is with outside influences regarding prejudice, but they mostly would stay loving. I still believe that to be true today.

I also remember reading a book several years after September 11th, 2001 titled “The Faith Club”. It was about an American Muslim woman of Palestinian descent who had been bullied and misunderstood about her faith. She reached out to two other women, one was a Christian and one was Jewish. They formed this Faith Club to try to understand the connection they might have between their religions. They had hopes of coming through the experience with an enriched personal faith and a deeper understanding of others. They found they had more in common than division even in their spirituality. It was a life-changing experience for them and formed a bond that continued to grow.

It’s been 20 years since 9/11 and I can’t honestly say that we’ve learned to love our fellow man any better. Could it make a difference if we were to try to understand our diversity without first putting judgments or prejudices ahead of the understanding? I think it would.

But in conclusion, each of us has the opportunity to change, to have renewal, to share love and peace, to be more compassionate and understanding of others. All we need to do to reach it is withdraw our attention to the negativity of the outside world and to focus on the strength, the energy and the love inside each of us with God's help and Grace!!

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