"Beautiful Complexity in Us" by Rector Chris Girata
Beautiful Complexity in Us was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, September 24, 2021
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
From the outset, it’s clear that the pairs will find some unity, but the process intrigued me. Each pair works to assemble simple furniture before answering some predetermined questions to get to know one another. Then, seated at the bar they’ve just built, they watch a short film in which their partner’s opposing point of view—that climate change is “total piffle” or that women “need to remember we need you to have our children”— is revealed. Finally, they’re given a choice to go or to “stay and discuss [their] differences over a beer.” All six choose to stay and discuss their differences respectfully, with at least one pair swapping phone numbers.
Far too often, our humanity is reduced to one opinion or another without acknowledging the beautiful complexity in each of us.
Seems simple, right? Perhaps some of you think it’s a bit too simple. In our world, differences have become litmus tests. Far too often, our humanity is reduced to one opinion or another without acknowledging the beautiful complexity in each of us.
When is the last time you’ve had the privilege of meeting someone and finding common ground before knowing their politics or opinions on hot social issues? When is the last time you’ve had the privilege of being known for more than a few of your opinions?
We are all—every one of us—complex. I believe we are wonderfully made, and our creator filled us with gifts in unique combinations that make each of us beautiful in our own way. And yet our world wants us to fit in categories, to be contained in boxes, and to follow the loudest voice in the room. We are much, much better than that, so why do we allow it to happen?
I believe we are wonderfully made, and our creator filled us with gifts in unique combinations that make each of us beautiful in our own way.
Yes, why do we allow ourselves to be boxed in and contained and defined in ways that limit our beautifully complex humanity? I am not making light of any of the important issues in our world, but I want to be very clear: each person deserves respect and understanding, especially those who disagree with us. You have been wonderfully made, and so have they. This is very hard, but not impossible.
If I were to ask you to think of someone with whom you vehemently disagree, my guess is that you’d be able to write a list. We have become so good at knowing who falls in the “right” and the “wrong” columns that our neighbors have become little more to us than tools for our use. Our neighbors are either tools that can help us or tools that can hurt us. And if it’s the latter, then they must be weakened or eliminated.
Friends, we can do so much better because we are so much better. We are surrounded by a world that would have us divide ourselves into camps to battle one another, but we can resist. We can resist the machine that seeks to rob us of our humanity and courageously live the truth that faith, hope, and love have been poured into us and we can reflect them in order to heal our world. Each of us has the power to make change through small acts. Nothing in this world can divide us when we are united through small acts of big love.
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
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