"Every person processes and embodies their tradition in an original and organic way that is complex and embedded in the person's experience of joy and suffering; loss and loves. When talking about religion we are always treading on delicate and intensely personal ground and an authentic religious conversation involves listening more than speaking in order to fully understand and appreciate another person's religious background."
–Paul Rauschenbush, today on Huffington Post
When I read this quote this morning, I was reminded of how quickly and recklessly people often make assumptions about one another's beliefs, behaviors and identities. Each person uniquely processes not only their religious experience, but also their individual family, identity and culture as well.
I work hard at letting go of the delusion of assuming I can possibly know what someone's lived experience has been. Rather, I continually learn how to inquire and listen with compassion, openness and patience. I am grateful for those who trust me with the sacredness of their stories.