Outside the comfort zone

Outside the comfort zone

(Matt 5:46-47)

Stepping outside your comfort zone may not sound inviting. But in turbulent times does exposure only to voices we agree with help or hinder the building of the Common Good? 

The Common Good is generated as human beings cooperate and find solutions together. It is not a utopian ideal imposed by some on others. To build a civilised life together we need to deliberate and negotiate – including with people we may not like. But polarisation and identity politics are sewing social fragmentation: the breakdown of trust is a significant barrier to the Common Good. 

Lent is a time for giving up comforts in order to come closer to God; to adopt a humility that accepts the dignity of every human being, even those who take a different view. This is a challenge to look outside the false security of our echo chambers, our partisan newspapers, Facebook, Twitter and pet media sources. Making such a sacrifice challenges us to listen to unfamiliar voices, to uphold free speech and question when so-called ‘safe spaces’ are abused to exclude dissent.

Spending time in the desert of our inner life can be like walking in the wilderness with Christ beside us, as we take an honest look at ourselves. Are we really willing to recognise the gift of other people?

Stepping outside our comfort zones carries risks. It risks learning that we might know less than we thought we did (so we might learn something new), it risks being mislabelled by one activist group or another (we might then reclaim some territory and subvert their efforts to divide us), it risks the scorn of our comfort zone companions (challenging them to be less tribal too).

It's not going to be easy. But consider the consequences of our inaction – does taking that risk make us stronger or weaker in our ability to work together for the Common Good?

Jenny Sinclair

Director, T4CG

This is from our newsletter of 19 February 2018  To read more click here...


Header graphic acknowledgement: a network graph of moral contagion shaded by political ideology from Emotion shapes the diffusion of moralized content in social networks Brady et al, Department of Psychology, New York University

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