Thursday, November 1, 2012

The "Favorite Child Principle"

This last month we've had a class at church on the three faiths of Abraham.  We've had the pleasure of having friends from the local Jewish and Muslim communities as well as a Christian history professor come speak.  I had the privilege last Sunday of presenting the final lesson talking about the importance of interfaith conversation. 

During that lesson I talked about what I've come to call the "Favorite Child Principle." 

I talk about it this way...

One day as my mother, sister, and I sat together mom started talking about something she had read.  It seems a woman had written letters to each of her four children that they were to receive when she died.  In each letter she told each child that he or she was her favorite.  She had also concluded by writing in each letter that the recipient should not tell his or her sibilings, after all their feelings would be hurt.  My mom ended this story by saying to us, "So when you get your letters, don't tell each other."  (You know we will!)

What does that have to do with the three faiths of Abraham, you might ask?  Well, the reality is that often we walk around acting as if we are the "favorite child."  As a Christian, I know Christians do this.  I am sure that there are Jews and Muslims who do as well.  But what if we came to recognize that we were each God's favorite? 

This would make a difference in our interfaith relationships.

This would make a difference in our political battles.  (Is anyone else ready for Nov. 6 to get here?!)

This would make a difference in our family life.

This would make a difference everywhere.

As parents we so often talk about how having child #2 (and 3 and 4 and more) only expanded our hearts to give more love.  In religious circles we talk about the same thing with God...God loving each of us as if there is only one of us.  And yet we often live in ways that are very contrary to these claims.

But what if...what if we would choose to honor the favorite-ness not only in ourselves, but in each other?  What if we didn't need to prove our favorite-ness?  What if instead we could affirm each others'?

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