February – From the Minister

“There’s no academic way of making someone compassionate…It happens through experience.”
-Tony McAleer
Cofounder of LifeAfterHate.org

In a spate of articles after the 2016 election, speculations were made about why so many big cities went blue and so many rural areas went red. Some speculate that people who live in big cities are more likely to be younger and more educated, because they moved there to find work, so they are inherently more liberal and adaptable. Some speculate that living in areas with denser populations make people more likely to think beyond their immediate needs because competition for resources make people invest more in their futures. And some argue that those people who live in proximity to people who aren’t like them are more compassionate, and thus more liberal in their politics.

When living our lives, if we don’t encounter people who need our compassion, how can we develop compassion in ourselves? Time and again, studies show that people who change their mind about social issues do so because they are influenced by a positive relationship with someone different than themselves. When we can see beyond our own needs, when we can see a perspective different than our own, that is when we can start to see ourselves reflected in the eyes of another.

This month, I am considering how crossing borders, pushing boundaries, and coming into proximity to people who are different than myself can teach me compassion. I am also considering how my compassion can be used to gain awareness of my privilege, and use that privilege to make life better for everyone.

-Rev. Sara Goodman