Monday, November 07, 2005

More of the Gospel According to Cori

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.


David said...

At the risk of setting myself on fire...
I think I missed your evolution. Can you elaborate on what you realized in "nobody is different from everybody"?
Did you come to grips with your frustration with the Virginia pastor? Did your daughter illuminate something deeper? Did I miss the boat and lose my sense of understanding?

EyeRytStuf said...

For me, the expression has been, "Put two of any of us in the vacuum of space for five minutes, and we're both gonna have pretty much the same experience."

That is basically how I interpreted both "All men (read: people) are created equal" and anything about loving your fellow (hu)man.

To clarify my attempt at clarification: While I've heard arguments that not everyone is created equal, I don't think it can be argued that we aren't all going to come to the same basic end (in this plane of existence, anyway), and if you have no other reason to love the people you are sharing the planet with, you should at least love them for the fact they are as vulnerable as you to the eventuality of death.

Not that I apply any of this very well. It's just a thought I had once.

So her's is better, because it's easier to get, methinks.

Andy B. said...

Let's see if I can clarify. I wish I could type with tone of voice. Cori was angry at the idea that someone could be excluded from church for being "different." When she spoke, she emphasized the "every" of the word "everybody." So it came out, "No one is different than EVERYbody." I think she meant that every one of us has things that we share with other people. With that in mind, her compassionate heart wanted to affirm the man excluded from his church by saying that he couldn't have been THAT different, could he?
I'm afraid that maybe didn't do anything to clear it up. Perhaps my wife will comment later when she reads this post and make it make sense to someone else but me!
Sorry, David :)

Stephen said...

As the late Brother Roger would say again and again to all who would listen, "God is united to every human being without exception."

David said...

All of them helped..especially that part with Cori's emphasis, though the expression "put any two of us in a vacuum of space and we're gonna have pretty much the same experience" was one I will hold onto for a long time to come.
I appreciate all the insights. Thanks, DC