Pot luck suppers

This week in the aftermath of the election, yes aftermath sounds like an appropriate description, we have had a lot of discussion about how we will heal the divide and how will political leaders move forward.  On NPR, one commentator had this discussion with Parker Palmer; well know for working with individuals and groups on vocation and vision.  Mr. Palmer shared that early in his career he met with a pastor of a large urban church with a diverse membership and he asked the pastor how he was able to get all these folks to work together.  Taking him aside the wise pastor said he would share the secret, and the secret was only three words, “pot luck suppers”.  Sharing together around the table was the answer, hearing each other’s stories in nonthreatening way, being nourished together at the table and finding sitting across the table someone not unlike you.  Interestingly I also heard a report where one congressional leader was asked how much time he had spent talking one on one with a leader from the opposite party.  His response was, “I think we spoke in the hallway for about 30 seconds once.”   It sounded absolutely amazing but I am afraid it is true.  So perhaps the answer to enable our political leaders to work together is having required pot luck suppers.  Sit across from each other, see your opponent as a grandmother who loves her grandchildren, see the opposition as one who needs to leave early to go watch his daughter play soccer, discover that the extremist is worried about her elderly parents and discover that the other has similar struggles and similar hopes as you talk things over finding perhaps some middle ground.

            Interestingly this is the wisdom of the church whose central ritual is gathering around a table and inviting all to the feast.  And we celebrate that communion not only on first Sundays but anytime we gather together potlucks and prepared meals, lunches and breakfasts.  Looking around and see our brother and sister looking back.  Next, week is our Thanksgiving meal come and share at that table of communion and bring or friend or perhaps an adversary to join in the table of welcome. Or better yet invite them to your own thanksgiving table the following week.  And join with Jesus in believing that this  action will begin to heal the divisions and also change the world.

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