“Jaime, we have half an hour now during this drive. What’s the most important thing we can be thinking about?”- Buckminster Fuller
The opening quote for this post was posed by Buckminster Fuller to his granddaughter, obviously during a car ride. I lifted it off of page 1 of “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth” by Buckminster Fuller (actually it’s part of the foreward by his granddaughter), which I will buy and send to your house if you tell me you’ll read it! (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org). What a powerful question! How would you answer a question like that? Have you ever even been asked something like that?
I have been on a quest for truth since well before this blog was started but I feel the quest has been ever quickening as I try to write more and more opinionated pieces for this blog explaining the world as I know it to others. Trying to explain things is quite the humbling act as it really is true the more you learn, the more you learn how little you really know.
That is not to say that learning is a fruitless act, far from it!
Some of the mysteries I have been bumping into though get to sounding downright mystical. This has been a real challenge for my analytical mind.
What is Love?
What is Truth?
Why do some people turn into murders while some are artists and engineers? Why are some people both!
Is there a God? If so, is he the God that is preached by any of the hundreds of branches of each religion or have they all missed the mark in some aspects?
How do I most effectively move the world forward in a positive direction?
How do I even determine if my actions are actually positive or negative!?!?!
Why do I think negatively of X type of person. You can substitute just about anything for X. Tall, short, gay, straight, bros, hipsters, foreigners, other Americans, Republicans, Democrats. You name it, I’ve judged them.
One thing that has been wonderful for me has been visiting other churches or religious events. I have been visiting a different church each month sometime during the 2nd week of the month for almost a year now with a group from my church. At the start I had to ask “What is our goal here?” Were we on a mission to save souls from their wrong thinking? I feel this is often the attitude taken by, at least, many denominations of Christians towards other Christians, and certainly other religions. Or were we just trying to learn about others? See how the worship and try to BE with them. Luckily we had the presence of mind to choose the latter.
I have purposely tried to seek as varied services as possible. To date I have visited, Lutherans, Missionary Baptists, Southern Baptists, Mormons, Sunni Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, Greek Orthodox Christians, Church of Christ – Scientists, Universal Unitarians and I’m sure some I have forgotten. I have only been met with welcome at every service I attended. People were happy to talk to me and those with me. They invited us in, ate with us and shared their stories and beliefs. Our group tried to be very respectful of each group we visited and they showed us each the same respect and, even better, hospitality, back. The responses I have gotten have really elevated my faith in humanity.
Incredibly when I have shared my visitation stories with friends and family often the first question I am asked is “Were you scared?” Now perhaps they are just joking and I am very oblivious but I believe that every joke has at a minimum a small amount of truth behind it. I have been a bit nervous walking into places I know no one but every time I have done it it becomes easier. I think what the people asking me those questions are really doing is voicing their own fears. Fears of the unknown, which we all have. My solution to the unknown is simply to make it known!
I believe that one solution to much of the violence and fear in the world these days is to simply expand our our circles of influence, or put in a gentler way, expand our neighborhood. Buckminster Fuller coined the term “Earthian” to help unify us. If we could brush away our differences and recognize that we are all in this together, expanding our circle of neighbors, I think we’d all become a lot more comfortable.
As you start a new day ask yourself a few questions.
How can I expand my neighborhood today?
What’s the most important thing I can be thinking about?