After college, I took a class at DePaul. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do (Or be) so I was trying different things out. Anyway, the class I took was Comparative Religion. I loved this class. I really embraced learning about different religions. The thing I learned beyond a doubt is that our commonalities are much greater than our differences.
There is a great quote by Martin Buber that says, “God made so many different kinds of people, why would God allow only one way to worship?”
Makes you think, huh?
I have been blessed to know many children who have learning differences. They are intelligent and thoughtful and curious. They don’t always respond to the traditional way of teaching. They “get” things in a different way. Knowing these kids has opened my eyes to many things. I don’t assume there is one way of learning or teaching or seeing the world. Some of us are tactile learners while others are visual learners or auditory learners. Some people learn through music or dance. There is no “right” way to learn. Often, the kids who learn differently become the best teachers to all of us. We learn that when we demand everyone be the same, we encourage mediocrity. We stifle artistic expression and often, we can damage self esteem and make kids feel that they are “less than”. Talk about a tragedy.
It makes me think of organized religion and rote memorization of prayers and scripture. Just like there are many different learning styles, there are many different “worship styles”. I have friends who gain great comfort from praying the rosary. Some people worship by singing or playing an instrument. I have other friends who attend Eucharistic Adoration. Some listen to contemporary worship music or Christian radio. Other people, whom I love and adore, haven’t stepped foot inside a church for years.
I’ve been known to say, “Amen” in casual conversation when I agree with someone. I like to think I’m the kind of person who can sing with the choir at any church…clap hands and wave arms with the best of them! When we say “Amen!” we say “yes!”
Many people haven’t found what feels comfortable to them yet with regards to their faith – they are still searching and the options are endless. Each time I hear of a new way someone is praying or finding God in their lives, I am so grateful and happy for them. We are searching for Him, Yes, but remember, he is also trying to find ways to reach us. Just like the other good teachers we know, God will never give up on us. He won’t say, “Well, you are not worshipping like your neighbor, you don’t make the cut.” I picture it more like, “Wow, she’s really not responding to that, let me try something else.”
Let’s stop judging each other on the way we learn and the way we worship. Instead, let’s find ways to share our knowledge and our wisdom so everyone can grow. If one way doesn’t work, let’s try another way…we are not all the same. That’s what makes us so interesting.
Can I get an “Amen!”?