Open up your circle

We are all seeing way too much division these days. Take something as simple as news. I can’t just read what happened. First, I have to pick whether I want to get news from a liberal or conservative lens, for example, CNN or Fox News, and then I get corresponding facts. The vantage points rarely overlap and so no wonder that the country is becoming more polarized. We repeat what we choose to hear and when the other person doesn’t confirm it, it becomes personal

It’s not just politics. Facebook is now pushing groups. Not necessarily evil by itself, but the downside is that people will pick their corresponding echo chambers and have even less of an opportunity to interact with others who view things differently. 

That’s why I’m grateful for my military experience. The army does a great job of getting the most random group of people to accomplish a common goal. You lose the ability to pick who you want to work with, and that forces you to get to know the people you typically would not have become friends with.

What are the lessons to heal the division in everyday life? Open up your circle. 

For example, my wife started a group called Un-Apologetic animal lovers. We meet once a month to talk about Saints who loved animals and how to explain our Catholic faith to others. You’d think it would be pretty straight forward. It is for the most part, but sometimes some of our members express pretty strong opinions. When we hear the type of views that make us uncomfortable, we wonder if we can keep the group together and whether we allowed too many people in. In other words, we are tempted to wish that our group was more of an echo chamber. 

Praise the Lord we have persistence because one of our members who expressed some strong opinions told us at the end of the last meeting: “This was a good discussion.”

I know it’s not a panacea, but we are doing our part, however small, to get out of our comfort zone and find common ground. To open up our circle and encourage others to do the same: realize that we have far more in common than our mind makes us think

Who is in your circle? How can you open it up more?


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