Community in conversation

2015-05-20 06:00
Reverend Andrew Manning.

Reverend Andrew Manning.

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WOULD you want to live in a world where everyone is just like you. Where everyone shared your dislikes, your attitudes, your behaviour? Be honest now, if everyone drove their car like you, would there be fewer accidents? Sometimes I find myself driving like other people and I am shocked – at them of course. Personally, I want other people to behave better than I do, be more tolerant, less opinionated, more understanding – after all, I am only human.

So what if everyone was just like you, if everyone drove like you, interrupted like you, listened like you, talked like you – would you like the world you lived in. Changing ourselves is the only­ way we can change the world. You are the only person you have authority over. True power comes when you master self-discipline and self-control.

What we don’t realise is what we don’t have always seems better than what we do have, because our dreams are always free.

Chasing freedom means chasing after a life without responsibilities and without restrictions – this is anarchy however, not freedom. Freedom exists when people around you wish they were like you and wanted to do you no harm. Freedom exists when you are not under threat of violence or condemnation. Freedom can only exist when we love one another. I’m not talking about a self-fulfilling, self-gratifying lust, I’m talking about being able to be with another without having to weigh thoughts or measure words, as someone put it.

The first step to enjoying life is to realise we are not simply individuals that make up society, we were designed to be community - caring for and living for each other. Accountability to each other is what truly brings freedom because when we are accountable to each other is when we respect, work with and value each other.

If we are to rebuild a nation, we need to understand that democracy is a system whereby people are held accountable to each other, no matter who they are. Where we don’t slate people in public or disrespect them. Are you prepared to let our community start with you?

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