I know that my daughter must be a mystic. I'm pretty sure she has some kind of special connection to the Divine, anyway. Cori is seven years old and has a way of saying things that brings God to the surface more readily that almost anyone else I know.
Her latest, "No one is different than everybody."
Here is the context: Cori noticed that I had scratched out the United Methodist slogan, "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors," from my car's bumper sticker and written, "It's the thought that counts" instead. (Say what you will about my own little act of passive/aggressive protest, it's not the point of this post!) Cori then asked my wife Erin why I had done this.
Erin replied, "Because Daddy was sad and angry about a United Methodist pastor in Virginia not letting someone be a member of the church because he was different." Erin chose her words carefully for Cori's seven-year-old ears.
The idea made Cori mad. She has been righteously indignant in the past, and it truly is a sight to behold. This time, she uttered the astonishingly liberative truth: "No one is different than everybody." Knowing this and living one's life shaped by this notion make it very difficult to discriminate. One has a hard time prejudging someone else when starting from this place. I cannot look at a person different from me and make comparative assessment of them using myself as the standard, because, as Cori says, no one is different from everybody.
Fundamentally, all of us are just people trying to live our lives as best we can. In that sense, everyone is like everyone else, although I am not trying to promote "sameness" as a desirable trait. Far from it! I celebrate the diversity of God's creation whenever possible. And it is important to note that "sameness" and "unity" are not synonyms. The church can and should and occasionally does exhibit deep and profound unity in the midst of its wondrous and vibrant diversity.
The yin/yang of diversity and unity is an important affirmation of God's creative power. Preudice is when we tip the balance too far toward unity using our own perspective as the standard of measurement. The miracle of life is that each of us is uniquely valued by God while at the same time living as just one among many in common humanity with one another.
Thanks to Cori for helping me understand this anew. No one is different than everybody yet each of us can know God personally. And that's the Gospel according to Cori.