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A Call To Respect and Welcome Diversity - A Challenge of Our Faith

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A CALL TO RESPECT AND WELCOME DIVERSITY - A CHALLENGE OF OUR FAITH

By  SISTER BRENDA WALSH, RACINE DOMINICAN

In recent times, many leaders of faith communities, some Bishops and others are  calling on their members to embrace diversity as a way to achieve unity, create community and to eliminate racism and other forms of discrimination that destroy community. Recently Archbishop Jerome Listecki of the Milwaukee Archdiocese attended a gathering of 500 Catholic Chaplains . One of the keynote speakers, Fr. Bryan Massingale, a priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese and an Associate Professor of Theology at Marquette University, encouraged the group to get out of their comfort zone and reach out to all people in all walks of life and other ethnic groups. Fr. Bryan reminded his listeners we must live and reflect the justice which we preach. We need this outreach at a time when there are massive demographic shifts in the United States and beyond and especially at time when the common good is often neglected.  Our religious values call us to embrace diversity in its many forms in order to achieve unity and peace and to promote the common good.

 

Another group that calls us to unity and to embrace diversity is the National Council of Churches. They have addressed the issue several times. They noted that this country has a great ethnic, cultural and racial diversity.  Most of the organizations we belong to do not reflect this diversity. We need to affirm diversity in order to bring it about. We are all challenged to be agents of peace and reconciliation in a divided world. They encourage us to move from tolerance to mutual respect in order to bring about authentic community.

 

We must address the stereotypes and prejudices of every kind that abound in our communities. Then we can move to fruitful collaboration. We all make up a mosaic of colors, creeds and gifts To make the best use of them we need to form a community of respect for the diversity of the people for the common good.

 

One good example of embracing diversity came in a letter from one of the members of Jewish Voices for Peace. She said: After so many years of searching, I cannot tell you how good it feels to find a Jewish Community that could feel like home B where Palestinians and Jewish Israelites were viewed as equals, where Jews of every stripe, whether religious or not, felt welcome, where allies and loved ones, no matter their religion or ethnicity, were equally embraced. I found such a place in Jewish Voices for Peace. In the process, it has helped me build a better world for all people.@ What a great example for all of us!

 

WHAT IS PREVENTING US FROM ACHIEVING UNITY?

 

Ethnic stereotyping, racial prejudice, religious intolerance  around creed, style of worship and lack of openness to people of other colors, creeds or national origin.

 

We need to ask ourselves how can we live respectful and understanding of others What kind of future do we want to hand on to our children? In light of our diversity, what do we expect of each other? We are all made in God=s image and we need to affirm our common heritage?

 

WHAT CAN WE DO TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE?

  • We need to face and forgive the wrongs of the past. First we must name them and get to know people of other creeds and cultures that we have avoided in the past. It will take time and patience but it can be accomplished.

  • We must come to realize that prejudice and intolerance are outright wrong and must be eradicated. We can learn much from each other  in both dialogue and service

  • When we see diversity denied, we can get enough courage to point it out to those who are involved. We can write letters to the Editor or articles in the local newspapers.

  • In our religious education classes and other groups, we can teach the importance and value of welcoming diversity in its many forms and teach tolerance, respect and acceptance of all students for the sake of the common good.

  • We must commit to dialog and cooperation and explain how the gifts of all can enrich all of us.

  • In the US it is noted that only 7.5% of churches are racially diverse. Dr. Martin Luther King once pointed out that churches on Sunday are the most segregated places and that needs to change Churches and religious leaders can model positive ways to promote respect, tolerance and a welcoming place for all.

In conclusion, Fr. Massingale offers some very good advice. He tells us that Asocial division in our churches cannot  be changed through analysis and planning alone. The solution is to be found in Scripture. Jesus walked with people, felt their pain in their cries for help. He showed them compassion in a variety of ways, by touching and healing, forgiving, helping them claim their own dignity and more. He pointed  out that when we see so many struggling with injustice, intolerance, pain, poverty and more, we cannot turn away and leave them. We must all get involved in  the social healing needed today and help restore healing and hope to our broken world.   

 

It can be accomplished with divine help working in us and through us. May we have the courage to address this issue with vigor and hope

  


Justice Preaching Archive

Just click on a title below to read the article.
- The latest titles are listed first. -


• Two Essays on Peace •
• A RENEWED CALL TO RESTORE CIVILITY IN POLITICAL DEBATES AND OTHER AREAS •
• A CALL TO HELP ELDERS RECLAIM AND LIVE THEIR HUMAN VALUES •
• A CALL TO NAME •
• A Call To Respect and Welcome Diversity - A Challenge of Our Faith •
• Addressing White Power and Priviledge •
• An Ethical Reflection on Work... •
• A New Year •
• A Re-energized Catholic Church •
• A Renewed Call for Nuclear Disarmament •
• A THEOLOGY FOR CARING FOR THE EARTH •
• Called to Proclaim and Live With Moral Courage •
• Called To Protect the Poor In Our Economic System •
• A RENEWED CALL TO HEAL A DIVIDED WORLD •
• Call To Persevere In Praying and Working for Peace •
• Care For the Environment •
• Care for the Earth •
• Caritas in Veritate •
• The Challenge of Discipleship •
• Comprehensive Immigration Reform •
• WORKING TO CREATE A CULTURE OF PEACE •
• The Death Penalty Revisited •
• What Is Ecological Economics •
• Eliminating Global Poverty •
• Global Warming... Calling for an Urgent and Ethical Response •
• God's Fool •
• Green Congretations - A Growing Movement •
• More Gun Control •
• Healing the Racial Divide •
• Speaking the Truth in Today's World Takes Courage •
• Justice and Compassion •
• Labor Issues and the Catholic Church •
• Is More Consumer Spending the Answer? •
• Moving from A Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace •
• Preaching Justice & Moving from Violence to Peace •
• MULTICULTURALISM – A GIFT AND A CHALLENGE •
• OF TITLES AND TITTLES •
• Reaching For the Stars - Brenda Walsh •
• A Call To Reduce Prison Population •
• The Relationship Between Labor And the Catholic Church •
• Sermon On Domestic Violence •
• Sustainability •
• The Death Penalty •
• The New Economy Movement •
• The Role of Ethical Standards... •
• War Is Not the Answer •
• Witnesses To Hope •


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