If ever we were sure that the world we live in will always be the same, 2011 has provided some interesting insights to challenge us.
Devestating climatic activities, flood across most of our country, cyclones and fires in WA and similar events across the world pose the question: how do we cope with change?
People power uprisings for political change right across the Arab world including such places as Libya where the thought of such being possible was previously unheard of, poses the same question: how will we cope with a world that will be a very different one than that which we lived up until the end of 2010?
For us in the West the questions strike at our world view, our understanding of what is right and wrong, of where the foundations for our beliefs and practice are found. As the world becomes more multi-cultural through immigration, the arrival of refugees and the ease of travel, new ideas, beliefs and practices will live alongside, and at some tome, in some places, overshadow that which we took for granted.
Things like our religion, our belief system, our values and our way of life will, and if we are honest, have been challenged by these changes. This is inevitable, it is apart of living in an ever changing world. Yet, it is not that it is happening that matters most, as Tom Waits sings, “You can’t hold back time”, what matters most is how we respond to it.
Do we respond by emphasising our differences and walling up our fortresses to keep the changes out or do we embrace the challenge to be open to diversity, to listen to voices different to ours, to engage in dialogue with others looking for similarities and the space-in-between where we share our humanity?
It begins with us. Thomas Merton suggested that there will be no world peace unless each of us is at peace with ourselves and share that peace with another. It begins with us and fear is our enemy. We over come fear by facing it though engagement and dialogue, firstly within ourselves and the in the world.