WelcomeToday’s Word: ‘Welcome’ … as in all are welcome. No exceptions.

Five years ago the faith community I serve affirmed (once again) that God’s grace and love continues to be wide and pervasive in its scope, and unconditional enough for all people.

Either it’s unconditional or it isn’t.

Arriving (once again) at that same proverbial ‘fork in the road’ that Robert Frost writes of in his famous poem, “Two Roads,” we took the other one (once again) and, if you know that poem, you know the result. We also acknowledged that, among other things, in the midst of different points of view and divergent perspectives, people struggle to know how to talk well together. As per human nature, when people disagree, one or both parties raise their voice as if to force one viewpoint over the other with sheer volume. It’s like the default setting when faced with fear, threat, and danger.

At present, (once again) people seem to be yelling.

In her letter, “Immigration and Hospitality of the Heart” Patricia Lull, Bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod of the ELCA writes:

“We are living in a time when vitriolic words and hate speech have found their way into ordinary life. Tragically, such speech causes many to simply stop talking and has caused a few to act with deadly violence toward immigrants. Instead of engaging in a civil debate, it seems easier to react with broad generalities about others, their intentions, and the very dignity of their lives.”

I believe we can do better. I believe we can move beyond our default settings. Learning to listen well, is the first step in learning to speak well. And when we speak we speak well we converse well. And that, I am convinced, leads to living well with one another.


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