Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Imagination and Community

. . . In the First Epistle of Peter we are told to honor everyone, and I have never been in a situation where I felt this instruction was inappropriate.  When we accept dismissive judgments of our community we stop having generous hopes for it.  We cease to be capable of serving its best interests. . . Why the judgmentalism, among people who are supposed to believe we are, and we live among, souls precious to God . . . It is not possible to act in good faith toward people one does not respect, or to entertain hopes for them that are appropriate to their gifts.  As we withdraw from one another we withdraw from the world, except as we increasingly insist that foreign groups and populations are our irreconcilable enemies.  The shrinking of imaginative identification which allows such things as shared humanity to be forgotten always begins at home. 
It is very much in the gift of the community to enrich individual lives, and it is in the gift of any individual to enlarge and enrich community. 
The great truth that is too often forgotten is that it is in the nature of people to do good to one another.  -the essay Imagination and Community from When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson
I really enjoyed this thoughtful collection of essays by Marilynne Robinson.  I especially like the essay "Open thy Hand Wide: Moses and the Origins of American Liberalism," in which she argues that the Old Testament is more truly liberal than has often been recognized. Here is a good review of this book by Janet at Across the Page.

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