Since I have been in Jackson, I have been trying to intentionally place myself in situations and circles I would not normally be in. I am seeking out unlikely friendships and attempting to avoid homogeneity in my relationships.
Which is why at 5:30 on a Tuesday morning I am in a living room in a part of town I don’t live in, surrounded by people who are much more conservative than me in any way you can think of – theologically, politically, socially – and we are there to study the sacred text we are all committed to, although we often derive different precepts from it.
It’s hard for me.
There, I said it. It’s hard to wake up at 4:30 AM to go sit with people who think very differently than you do about issues that matter to you a great deal. But what I have consistently found is that no one person (or even ideology) has a corner on all the wisdom there is in the world, and so I find myself taking notes and jotting down ideas that I hear in that room that I would never have considered otherwise.
I had a mentor once who told me that you could learn anywhere and from anyone.
“Take what is useful, and ignore what is not. Eat the meat, and spit out the bones,” he said.