As a good Wesleyan, one of my biggest hopes is to see God’s image within myself restored. I strive to constantly experience redemption in as many areas in my life as possible. I long to continue my journey toward Christian perfection – to love God and my neighbors as God loves me..
As I continue envisioning my tenure as a district superintendent of the Heritage District, I hope that we embrace our Wesleyan heritage, especially in perfecting our way of loving God and our neighbors. Amid these turbulent times, we should have a sense of urgency in making sure we, as the Church of Christ, are offering “a different way” to our communities.
As the Church of Christ, we need to offer our communities a different way to behave in the midst of polarization. As the Church of Christ, we need to model a different way to live out our political life in a way the reflects Jesus’ golden rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” [Luke 6:31 NRSV]. As the Church of Christ, we need to also practice the three general rules we emphasize as Wesleyans: Do no harm, do good, use the means of grace to constantly nurture your love for God.
In light of this needed sense of urgency, I would like to offer some principles that have helped me in my own journey toward Christian perfection as well as in my attempt to respond to this urgent call. These principles come from a concept known as cultural humility. This is the idea behind “cultural humility,” a concept introduced by Melanie Tervalon and Jann Murray-Garcia in a 1998 article about medical education. They emphasize that understanding other cultures is a lifelong journey that starts with critical self-reflection about how we interact with and respond to others. Also, they exhort their audience to challenge power imbalances between health care providers and patients, and ultimately, they challenge its audience to hold dysfunctional institutions accountable to model these principles.
Understanding other cultures, but more significantly, making an effort to understanding other people who are different from ourselves, is key in our growth in loving God and our neighbor. Therefore, in the following weeks, I will expand in this concept and its principles. My hope is that this will help us in developing a common language around the importance of seeing, valuing, and learning from our differences. Even more, my hope is that by living out our belief that all humanity is made after God’s image, we will pay more attention to the opportunities we have in our interactions with people different from ourselves to learn something new about God, about being a Christian, and, ultimately, about being human.
If you would like to view past editions of Time with Ismael, follow this link: https://heritagedistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/