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We Are All in This Together

We Are All in This Together

Every week here at The Sunday Paper, we focus on Moving Humanity Forward. That’s our tagline, but more importantly, it’s our mission and our purpose.

We curate stories and we highlight voices that inform and inspire us to stay positive in the midst of a rapidly changing and turbulent world. We scour the news and always try to find the silver lining in it. (In case you missed it, be sure to read New York Times columnist Nick Kristof’s op-ed about why 2017 may actually be the best year ever. Yes, he did say that.)

The news of the day is rarely simple and/or great, even though so many people want it to be. I find that people want it to be black and white or right and wrong. But it rarely is. One’s take on the news depends so much on what one has experienced in life. You and I can look at the same picture, read the same story, or listen to the same speech, and yet have completely different takes on what is being said or is happening.

This week, President Trump got me thinking about the power of prayer. I’m a big believer in the power of prayer because I’ve seen it work firsthand. In fact, right now I’m a part of a prayer circle for a friend battling cancer and I know it’s effective because she’s still working and being a warrior for social justice.

I pray every morning and every evening to settle myself, to guide myself, to focus myself, to express gratitude and to be in conversation with God. I pray for myself, my children, my friends and yes, those I seek to better understand.

So the other morning, I prayed for Donald Trump and his family. I prayed that he would find some measure of peace. I prayed that he would realize he already has the most powerful job in the world and that what he does with it moving forward impacts millions and millions the world over. It impacts our shared humanity. It can move us forward, or it can move us backward. So while I know we must and should act, prayer has always given me a solid and centered foundation from which to move forward.

Because the truth is that no matter where we are born — or to whom we are born — we are all human beings. We share our humanity. In fact, the Merriam Webster’s definition of humanity makes this pretty clear.

 

 

I am connected to you, and yes, you are connected to me. We share the same planet. We breathe the same air. How I treat me is how I should strive to treat you. What I want for my family is what I should strive to want for your family — regardless of your religion, the color of your skin, your gender, or your political affiliation. I long to drop the labels we use to identify ourselves and that we so often hide behind, as they always seem to take us further from one another, instead of closer to one another.

So as we all heatedly debate the news of the day — as we are all flooded with images of people crying for help and/or offering help — may we stop and remember that we are all in this great big family called the human race together. If you need an example, just read this story about how a Jewish synagogue in Texas opened its doors to a local Muslim congregation after their mosque burned to the ground.

Our future depends on seeing our common humanity and finding ways to elevate it and move it forward towards a better place than it is today. Our very survival depends on one another. Our joy depends on one another. We are not here to destroy one another. We are here to connect with one another and help one another.

As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.”

We at The Sunday Paper agree. That’s why today’s issue focuses on helping us see that very truth. We can see it in our daily lives, in pictures, in films, or in the power of sports. It’s there for us all to see. All we need to do is open our eyes, our minds and our hearts to it and let it in.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep praying for our president, those who work for him and those who don’t. I’m going to keep praying for all of us and our shared humanity.

It’s there for us to see. All we need to do is open our eyes, our minds and our hearts and let it in.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep praying for our president, those who work for him and those who don’t. I’m going to keep praying for all of us and our shared humanity.

P.S. Archbishop Tutu shared some other powerful words about peace and humanity in an exclusive essay for The Sunday Paper last November. Read it here, then listen to the voices of other Architects of Change in our conversation series archives.

 


 

Every week at The Sunday Paper, we honor individuals who use their voices, their hearts, and their minds to Move Humanity Forward.

This week, we honor Rev. Andy Bales as our Architect of Change of the Week. For more than a decade, Rev. Bales has trekked up and down Los Angeles’ Skid Row to tend to the city’s neediest. And even though he lost his right leg to a staph infection contracted on the streets, Rev. Bales has not let that setback slow down his mission of ending homelessness.

Rev. Bales sees the humanity in everyone and recognizes that we’re all “precious human beings.”

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Andy Bales
Reverend · Activist  · Architect of Change

1.  Why We Should Never Turn Our Backs on The Homeless: “We all have our own kinds of struggles,” Rev. Bales said. “So often we avoid people experiencing homelessness, but there are so many people who are one paycheck away from it. We’ve got to get over our fears and join together and make sure no one ever suffers this devastation.”

2. The One Thing Most People on the Streets Have in Common: “The biggest common denominator is having no attachment to family whatsoever,” Rev. Bales said. “Recreating community is the biggest step toward ending homelessness.”

3.  Why It’s Never Too Late: “I’ve rarely, if ever, seen somebody who was too far gone to have a quality life,” Rev Bales said. “One guy who spent 7 years on crack cocaine is now playing piano for a worship team, and the other day, he spoke before city council. As long as you’re breathing, there’s hope.”

To learn more about Rev. Andy Bales and his organization, United Rescue Mission, go here.

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