Rollercoasters and the Image of God

Con verge’: (verb) To come together or tend to come together at a point; To move or be directed toward each other or toward the same place, purpose, or result

Okay, so the title is a blatant rip-off of the Flannery O’Conner novel Everything That Rises Must Converge. Still, it fit my focus, and I don’t think Flannery would mind. The world’s full of people who fear others that are different from them. Why? Misunderstanding. Prejudice. Ignorance. All layered on top of us until we can’t see the person, only our own (sometimes wrong) ideas about the other person.

Me? I’m the same way. I’m fearful of things and people I don’t understand. (I’m fearful of rollercoasters, which I do understand, but that’s a different blog post.) Ignorance ain’t bliss, and it sure kills friendships before they even form. So I need to rise above my ignorance and prejudices, and take steps (be they baby steps or leaps) to meet other people somewhere in the middle. Converge, if you will.

By “converge,” I mean moving towards an understanding of our common humanity. It’s not about agreeing with another person’s beliefs or condoning offensive behavior. It’s about ditching the “us versus them” attitude. Republicans vs. Democrats. Christians vs. Muslims vs. atheists, etc. Poor vs. Rich. “Life’s better upside down at 120 mph” types vs. ‘It’s safer on the ground’ types. (Me.)

Aren’t we all human?

As a Christian, I believe everyone is made in God’s image. No matter how broken and fragmented this image is, it’s still there. I try to remind myself of this. That checkout clerk at Walmart. The homeless guy on the street corner. The woman at church who babbles about her kids 24/7. All made in God’s image. If I’d just kill my preconceived ideas, I might learn something. I might make some new friends.

It’s not safe or easy, more like a crazy ride of uncertainty. I’m a little scared of it, honestly. Okay, make that big time scared: nail-biting, heart-pounding, “why did I let my husband talk me into this amusement park ride?” fear. But hey, who knows? I might discover I love rollercoasters. Or not.

I won’t know unless I try.


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