An unexpected message from an unexpected source: Pope Francis tele-presented at this year’s TED conference on the topic of inclusion and social responsibility and used the parable of the Good Samaritan to underscore his points.
The more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other.” —Pope Francis
We agree that “life is about interactions.”
Life is a perpetual conversation between people, things, and their environments, and none of us is an isolate. Even when the external world and other people are annoying, frustrating, or disappointing, not being able to ingest or digest their gifts means dying.
In some ways, this is a message that counters Brueggemann in The Prophetic Imagination. In the introduction, where he describes how the way of YHWH/Moses is different from the way of Pharaoh, Brueggemann underscores the idea that “the shaping of Israel took place from inside its own experience and confession of faith and not through external appropriation from somewhere else.”
The theologian views external influences on the Israelites as likely corrupting and diminishing and so worth dismissing out of hand. This is a move I’d expect cultic and exclusivist traditions to make: he could just as easily perceive these influences as nourishing, challenging, and enriching. God forbid the ancient Israelites learned monotheism or Sabbath from the people around them. God forbid there is so much room in our communities for the Other that they don’t have to question whether their sanctuaries and ours can be the same.
I sometimes hear that isolationism framed as good among members of my own tradition, and it seems very much contrary to the relational emphasis Francis speaks of in his talk.
“The future,” he says, “is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a ‘you’ and themselves as part of an ‘us.’ We all need each other.”
H/T: The Washington Post