Monday, April 01, 2013

[us and the other]

Brian McLaren speaks about two dangers:
All of us are poised between two dangers. The obvious one is “The Other.” The subtle one is “Us.” If we defend ourselves against the Other, if we attack the Other, we gain credibility with “Us.” We show that we are loyal, supportive, believers, members of Us, and we are generously rewarded and affirmed. We gain a lot by attacking the Other—in religious circles as well as political ones.

Ironically, Us can be as great a threat to each of us as the other is, probably greater. Us might withdraw its approval of me. It might label me disloyal, unsupportive, unbeliever, unorthodox, liberal, anathema, etc. To be rebuked, marginalized, or excluded by Us is an even greater threat than to be attacked by the Other.

Our fear becomes all the more acute when we venture to do what many of us in this dialogue are doing: we are daring to defend and humanize the Other. We are showing—however feebly and adolescently—a grain of neighborliness and solidarity with the Other. At that moment, we become vulnerable as never before to attacks by Us, i.e. our fellow Christians. In my experience, it takes much more courage to stand up to or apart from Us than it does to stand either against or with the Other…
Brian D. McLaren, pp. 47-48, in Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World

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