There is a strand of human thought that is contained in most religions, but transcends religion and secularism, to chart the very depths of humanity. This idea simply stated is that we are all interconnected. All of humanity, no matter what race, age, or gender comprise a vast web that extends from the origins of humanity to the last person who will ever be born.
I was raised to believe that the bonds of family were the strongest bonds anyone ever forges. As I have moved though my life, I have found this idea of family to be true. People come and go in our lives for a variety of reasons. Friends move away, co-workers get promoted, or take another job, and we cope with these changes. That is not to say that families are perfect, they fight, and sometimes people who have been invited to be family decide to sever that bond. Even so, I have discovered that the bond of family, while authentic, is really only a starting place.
These experiences have led me to a to a new understanding of my faith, and what it means to be human; in a seemingly inhuman world. The idea is simple and yet profound. It is that we are all family. ALL OF US. Everyone on the planet is a member of the same family. This concept overcomes the idea that “they” are different from “us”. How does that change the dynamics of human interaction on a global scale? It changes everything. War, famine, and rampant disease are all global concerns. The question becomes how we respond humanely, not whether we respond at all. If the world is only seen in black and white then either / or considerations cannot be widened to include both / and solutions.
I am working toward a degree and a future as a priest in the Episcopal Church. One thing that I have learned in my studies is that things that appear totally different can be remarkably similar at the heart. Religions are a case in point: Most of the world’s religions have several profound things in common. Perhaps one of the most important is the one I am speaking of now.
I didn’t choose to become a priest; I was led to it by the intersection of experience and faith. I believe that being a priest would allow me to help the greatest number of people. Equally as important to me, is that being a priest is less about the divine than it is about upholding the best of what is human in the service of the divine.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.