My mentor posted something on Facebook about how she was thinking about Ubuntu, the theme that was the focal point of this summer's General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu says this African philosophy gets stated simply as:
"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has proper self-assurance that comes from knowing he or she belongs to a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated and diminished, when others are tortured and oppressed"
This idea is remarkably familiar to me. The idea of being "open and available" and "affirming and not threatened" was the philosophy and the ethic taught at Florida School of Massage. It affirms, and confirms, our relationships as people on this planet together. And, for the Church, it is the beginning of seeing Christ in the other, and the "building up" of the body of Christ... as opposed to what has occurred with the repeated attempts to surgically-remove those who we think are the tonsils or appendix.
The more I thought about this, the more I thought, "How different the world would be if we really did put this into practice." If this really were the ethic by which we live and move and have our being then there would be no reason for voters in Maine to go to the polls next Tuesday to decide if gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry. Florida children pent up in the foster care system would be able to be placed in loving homes with gay and lesbian couples, so these kids could stand a chance at having a stable family. Our military would retain some of its brightest intelligence corps if we could see each other as a continuum of humanity where the "asking and telling" of one's sexual orientation is of no consequence.
We are a long way from being in this Ubuntu place.