Black & White & Shades of Gray

by Kathy Ruff

     I recently shared an interesting discussion with members of the All Faiths Tabernacle in Jim Thorpe (Pennsylvania).  The conversation — between an acknowledged agnostic, an atheist and two Christians — revolved around whether works grew out of faith or faith grew out of works.  Needless to say, the opinions differed. 

     The respectful interaction went beyond the either/or response and opened a third possibility.  It could be both. Though the opinions may not have changed, those present agreed to disagree. 

     Can you imagine a world where such respect, tolerance and acceptance were the norm? 

    Unfortunately, all too often that isn’t the case.  History has shown us again and again (x 100) that disrespect for our fellow man and intolerance leads to bloodshed.   

     My heart tugged as I contemplated some of that bloodshed last year when I visted the battlefields in Gettysburg.  My imagination painted a graphic picture of the carnage that resulted in this field and many others in the area during the battles fought at Gettysburg during the Civil War.  Can you imagine soldiers walking shoulder-to-shoulder out of the tree line into the open field, moving toward their enemies and their deaths?

     I ask myself why.  I’m no historian, but I believe the core issue involved a disrespect for our fellow man.  I also believe disrespect and intolerance contributed significantly to all wars and conflicts throughout history.
     Although the All Faiths Tabernacle group had conflicting thoughts about faith and works, we demonstrated how it is possible to respect another’s opinion and be tolerant.  Not all issues are black and white; many are various shades of gray. 
     Why can’t we just agree to disagree?  Why can’t we focus on the things we share in common and accept the diversity that brings spice to life?  Why can’t we accept others as they are?  I believe if we all did this with a pure heart and conscience, we’d all live in peace.  

About Kathy Ruff

Kathy Ruff is a seasoned, freelance business and inspirational writer and author of the Sharing Peace on the Path blog.
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