It is a gift when people are willing to explain their culture to you and to not be offended by your ignorance.
—Karin Kallmaker, Write What you Know
I watched a young man unwind his turban a few days ago, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind, even while cruising around in a boat full of lesbians.
These are opposite ends of a spectrum yet so clearly related in my mind. Diversity is on the rise in America and worldwide, yet increasingly under attack. More than ever, we must seek to understand those who are different and accept those differences just as we share and experience our own.
The Sikh Exchange
We are cruising to Alaska this week – note – next week’s post may just involve glaciers! My brother kindly agreed to give us a ride to the ship terminal, but first we had to accompany him to church which was a fair bargain. He is a very involved Unitarian, as was my mother. I am a lapsed Unitarian; I would say I agree with the beliefs but am, shamefaced to say, too lazy to act on many of them. For those unfamiliar with Unitarians, they feed the poor, care for the environment, help neighbors in need, support sister cities in the Third World, and meditate on faith and the importance of having a spiritual life. They just do it without reference to a specific set of scriptures – no Bible, no Jesus.
Last Sunday, the church invited a group of sikhs in to talk about their practices. This began with a children’s story – Unitarians often welcome children to participate in the service especially at the beginning. The story was about founder Guru Nanak who as a boy used his money for the market to feed a group of holy men. When his father expressed anger, Nanak explained that he had followed his father’s direction to use the money to get the best bargain possible, which was he decided meant to feed others who were hungry. Eventually, the practice evolved into langar, and then the story ended with a video about the largest langar spot in the world.