“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you,” Matthew 7:12.
I love the Bible but it seems like I have room for improvement in applying it to my daily life. For example: Café, grocery store, gas station, no La Crescent-ite goes anywhere without being asked for his or her position on the upcoming school levy. The problem I run into at the grocery store is that I do not have a position on school funding.
What I have, instead, is a life. I have a history, in which many people have played vital parts.
When I am presented with the issue of school funding, I visualize the homeroom teacher who seemed actually to care whether I showed up at school or not. I see the coach who taught me about balancing my life, and the social studies teacher who took my friend and I to Gopher basketball games and the English teacher who taught me to do my best – by giving me a lower grade than I deserved. All of these school district employees did their part to give me many possible futures in a well-funded school district.
I can still visualize the faces of dozens of classmates of on field trips to museums or the capital building or picking up litter on neighborhood streets on Earth Day though it happened 50 years ago. Other people have other stories, I know, but these are the stories that have given me my sight. To reduce them to a position seems irreverent somehow, like treating the earnest cashier waiting on me at the grocery store like they are a part of the machine their fingers are punching numbers into.
I love the Bible. It is the story that I find myself in. I believe that swapping stories is one way to get closer to people who see things differently than I do, so that both of our truths get stretched. Let’s listen to each others stories, about growing up in well-funded and not so well funded schools. Then, with the Biblical guidance about doing unto others, let our stories inform us how to practice justice with our neighbors on this earth.
These days I guess everything sounds like a position, even a confession like this one. All I know is the Bible instructs me to treat others how I want to be treated. It invites me to balance my appetite for privilege with a stomach for commitment for my neighbor.