Like a number of others from the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, I was blessed last week to spend part of the day with author and speaker Parker Palmer. The room was filled to capacity with folks from various faith traditions, education, health care, social services and those invested in the political process.
Many present were clearly long-time admirers of Parker Palmer. His earlier writings, particularly Let Your Life Speak and The Courage to Teach, have been widely acclaimed in both the education and religious communities. Yet, most were here on this day to hear the author expand on the themes in his most recent book, Healing The Heart of Democracy : The Courage to Create a Politic Worthy of the Human Spirit.
Palmer’s message to me is not one of ‘sound bite’ blame, but rather a passionate plea that deep within our corporate soul and deep within each of us we must learn how to walk together. As he stated, “We must move from argumentation to inquiry.” For Palmer it’s absolutely critical that we truly hear each other’s story.
Thanks to our Native American brothers and sisters of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, one of the great blessings for me is our grounding in Gospel Based Discipleship. When we place the Gospel story in our center and then prayerfully listen to each others’ stories, we begin to see the other as a child of God and not as an ‘issue’ or a ‘position’. And find new ways to live into our promise in the Baptismal Covenant to “Respect the dignity of every human being.”