St Margaret's News September 2018 - Page 5

Sunday system she saw practiced. In friendship, in sharing her life with this school friend, there has been mutual growth and testing. In celebrating diversity, we don’t obliterate difference. Australian moral philosopher Raimond Gaita - best known for his memoir 'Romulus, My Father’ - explores this in his writing about the metaphor and meaning of Esperanto. Esperanto is a constructed international language developed in the late 1800s by a Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist who worked under the pseudonym Dr. Esperanto. Dr Esperanto’s goal was to create an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster global peace. Esperanto continues in the 21st century with the Internet’s help. Gaita warns against a version of moral and cultural Esperanto: reducing our lives to something hybrid without roots in any one patch of soil. We can see and learning from differences, while maintaining a sense of one’s own history, tradition and its truths. We CAN live with the tensions; on the boundary, on the edge. In fact we are urged to. Difference is celebrated in many sacred stories.. the Pentecost story for example, in which everyone hears the gospel in their own tongue. At the same time, unity found in the shared life of the spirit underscores our living together. The challenge, by no means small, is learning how to hold onto both unity and diversity. Some things may even be irreconcilable but there is commitment to get on. It concerns me that the progressive left is often as guilty as the hard right in closing itself off and lacking humility. That’s what many observe about the intel- lectual life in North America. Donald Trump did not emerge in a vacuum; progressives, too, closed in on themselves. We can’t here in Australia afford to the same. The ecology of mutual flourishing Jesus invites is about sharing our lives with others, with strangers, with new arrivals, with the other. Is there a need to articulate common core values across the community? You bet. We should proactively present the case for diversity, rather than allowing prejudice to provoke a reaction. What we have at the moment is multicultural- ism defined by its enemies; both by people who demand a standalone culture and fear anyone who doesn’t look or speak like them. At the same time there are some who want to grab hold onto a culture that they have, or their parents brought with them, to the exclusion of everything else. 5 And so, to finish, think again about who you interact with; do you only engage and tolerate conversations with people who think and look like you. What kind of diversity do you do? The gospel urges us to renew our minds constantly. We don’t accept the good news of Christ once, but continually, as to discern the will St Margaret’s News 5 September 2018