Ok . . . so I've returned to the blog world after my tiny hiatus from computer life. In the meantime, I've been blessed to have my sister return from England and be my roommate for a few weeks. Lanecia is the new youth pastor at the church I attend, so we're back in the same city again for the first time since high school. It's lovely! Until she's able to move into her apartment in September, we're sharing the same bed again for the first time since kindergarten, I think. Not quite as lovely!
Lanecia flew into New York City, and we drove down from NYC to Nashville via South Carolina. In SC we visited my maternal grandparents, my aunt, my cousin, my paternal great-grandmother and great-aunt/uncle. I've not seen any of them in so long, it seems. We enjoyed being in their presence again even though our time was limited. Granny is 94-years-old and looking wonderful!
Life is good; I can't complain!
Wanting to know more about gay people, but not quite sure you want to be their friend? Curious about Islam, but not quite sure you want to step into a mosque and ask a question or two? Well, Sweden has the answer for those of us in the world ready to take our curiosity one step further but not quite far enough to step completely out of our comfort zones! How about going to the library and, instead of checking out a book on Eastern religions, rent your very own Hindu person for 45 minutes: http://www.planetout.com/news/article.html?date=2005/08/17/4.
I applaud this Swedish library's desire to promote diversity. Maybe in their 45 minutes together, people will decide to further develop relationship with each other, realizing that you cannot truly know a culture or understand a person in 45 minutes. It's sad, however, that the library has to offer space for such interaction. Do we divide ourselves so much that we must rely on the booklenders to loan us people now? Are we that confused about creating community?
I'd like to shake my head and say this is a problem of Swedish culture and their lack of integration. Unfortunately, though, I learned that you have a different experience in their country depending on which South Africa you visit: the Indian one, the black one, the white one or the coloured one. Their libraries may need to do some people-lending, too. And we're not so happily integrated in the USofA, either. At the Duke Youth Academy a few years ago, counselors and youth had to fill out sheets to talk about how many people in our close circles of friends (the friends frequently visiting our homes) are of a different race, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, etc. Sadly, most of us could not claim interaction with people not like ourselves. Just the other week, Lanecia told a story and mentioned her Islamic friends. When she said this, a woman to whom she was speaking questioned, "Do you mean Islamic friends who are now Christian?" She asked more questions, unable to wrap her mind around Lanecia having "friends" who are not Christian.
Maybe people-lending is on our horizon, as well.
Or could we dare, as absurd as it may seem, to know our neighbors?