Struggling for inspiration today, I ran across a blog post, "Running with the Dalai Lama." (pun intended because puns are fun!) The author writes of listening to a podcast while running. As he goes, he loses track of who is speaking. He finds himself agreeing with what is said not knowing whether the speaker is Buddhist or Muslim or Christian. It reminded me of a blog I wrote a while back about not listening to political commercials, political debates or any report that phrases things in terms of what the Republicans say vs. what the Democrats say. A dear friend pointed out that it is important to listen to such things so that we stay informed and can vote accordingly. I concede that we do need to listen to some news for this purpose. Most political commercials will inform us of little besides "He's a Republican and hates Obama" or "She is a Democrat and hates Republicans," so I stand by that one. But, the "Running with the Dalai Lama," article gave me another idea. How about this: when possible listen to or read the content of what is being said before looking to see who is speaking. Admittedly this will often be difficult since our media divides things so clearly into Republican vs. Democrat. And some sources are going to be full of unhelpfulness no matter how tightly we close our eyes. For example, I was forced to listen to a bit of The 700 Club the other day. That program is baloney shaped propaganda masquerading as Christianity no matter how you slice it. (That little tidbit is for another dear person who reminded me that if I don't say anything controversial I run the risk of being boring.) But in some cases I think we might be surprised at who can be an agent of truth and wisdom.
Perhaps we could make a game of it. Post quotes on facebook or in the comments here revealing the author only after the quote and see if we can surprise each other. No peeking! Let's see if we can find any truth speakers in surprising places.
I will kick it off with an article from Sojourners which did a little bit of this kind of thing. In GOP Primaries and Old Country Buffet, Tim King reveals some surprising tidbits about some of our politicians. For example, King writes of a candidate whose state was the first to pass universal health care and another who says we should listen to scientists who warn of a human cause for climate change. Can you name these candidates? Check out the link for the answers.
We all have our preconceived notions. Divisiveness is being fed every time we hear or read the news. Let's stretch ourselves and starve the divisiveness a little by listening first and making up our minds after we hear what is being said.