We all suffer at times a debilitating fear of those different to ourselves. How do we move beyond this fear to relate instead in love? Greg Hewson from TEAR Group recently visited Toowoomba to host this discussion at the TEAR event “Fear of the Other”. It is a difficult and emotive task to move beyond our protective habits to engage with the alien, the outcast or the enemy as we see them. Here are three ways we can engage the “prophetic imagination” (as Theologian Walter Brugemann puts it) to bring the love of Christ into our every day encounters with the other. Firstly, we can re-imagine ways and spaces in which we can connect with the other. Secondly, we need to commit our hearts and minds to be renewed through the work of God’s Spirit within us. And thirdly, we make small practical steps to relate to the other. These are all made possible as we allow the love of Christ to become our benchmark, and his transforming work to change us towards this end. We need help and encouragement from each other, to share stories of connection and dreams of this new imaginary to spur each other onwards. Let us acknowledge the fears we have, and place them before God and each other so that we might learn something of ourselves, of our sameness with the other, and of God’s love made possible in us.
There are many ways to join together on this journey. If you are looking for a place to start, why not have a conversation with a local Tear Group member or check out http://www.fortomorrow.org.au/