Thursday, September 22, 2011

Student Post: Kali on 'Unity in Diversity'

This is a cross-post from Kali Fairchild, a junior from Eastern University studying Economic Development.
Taking time out of my normal once a week blog to write about something that is on my heart this week. The topic is what India is known for; unity in diversity.
Across the hall from me lives a Hindu neighbor, who lives next door to a family that is Parsi (my family away from home). Next door to us is a woman who is a Muslim.  In my apartment are five Christians. Four different apartments, four different religions. I can only imagine what I would find if I continued down the hall, or around my apartment complex. India is so rich with culture, history, and religion. So very diverse, yet in this diversity can be found unity. This is one of my most favorite things about India so far. Acceptance and tolerance. Peace and understanding.
I am literally amazed, daily, at the ways I see Christ in my neighbors. I see friends of different beliefs and religions finding commonalities between their faiths. I see meals being shared and lives being lived together in unity amidst diversity. My neighbors randomly ask us to go shopping with them, share a meal with them, or just come over to see if we need anything. I am in awe of the care they show us.

Out to ice cream with our new friends across the hall.
On Sunday we visited a Sikh temple called Gurudwara. It was very interesting. Sikhism is a monotheist religion where they worship one God who created the earth as his will for human kind. They believe in equality for all, no matter what caste, gender or position in life. They have 10 gurus, and worship a book which is where God is found. The book is presented in the temple and worshiped as if in human form. Every night they put the book to bed in a real bed and then wake it up at 5 in the morning. When it gets old they cremate it and get a new book. Despite the obvious differences between my religion and theirs, they generously opened up their temple to us. The cooked us a meal following the service and were eager to show us around and answer questions. Again just another example of openness here.

Inside the temple.
As I sit here in my apartment, with internet thanks to my awesome neighbors, I am reminded of how God can work through anything and anyone. God is bigger than anything and can work through any situation. I have been blessed with seeing God work through the lives of my Indian friends around me, no matter what religion they practice. I am reminded of how we are all called to be witnesses, and how I need to be a better one. My time in India has been drastically affected by my neighbors, and I hope I can learn to express the same kind of love, care, and acceptance they show me to the people I interact with daily.
I leave with this quote by Gandhi: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”  I’m going to bed tonight in India, and I am humbled by this thought. What kind of witness am I?

1 comment:

  1. Kali that was very intriguing and profound reflection. Gandhi said it well about the then British rulers “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” I was taken back very much when I came to know about the growth of Christianity in India has gone down by .2 Percent.Keep posting and GOD Bless all.