Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Today, say hello to someone you don't know

I find as I get older that I find fewer and fewer people that I look up to and admire. I am blessed to have come to Unitarian Universalism later in my life and as I learn more about my new faith I am increasingly impressed with many of the leaders of our denomination and none more than Bill Sinkford.

I was reading some of my older copies of UU World and on page 7 of the Spring, 2006 issue there is an essay by Rev. Sinkford and I was struck by this sentence in his essay, "Our task as religious people is not only to love our neighbors as ourselves, but also to always be expanding our understanding of who our neighbor is."
And I was thinking that it probably isn't someone you expected it to be or wanted it to be. It probably is someone you find frightening in some way or repellent or distasteful. Jesus said it well when he said something like what is the glory in loving your friends, everyone does that, but can you love your enemies? Rev. Sinkford kind of sounds like Jesus to me and I feel encouraged and blessed when I read his words.

We tend to forget that the terrorists are our neighbors as are the Iraqis and the Afghanis and the Iranians and the North Koreans and all the people which our government tells us are the "axis of evil."

The trick of government to work their will on the people is to inject fear in them of "the other" and even demonize "the other". As Reverend Sinkford says, as religious people we should not be so gullible and easily tricked but rather expand our understanding of who our neighbor is.

Would it kill us to reach out and say, "Hello" to someone we ordinarily would not associate with? It takes an effort, but you will have a richer life for it.

Is today really say hello to someone you don't know day? Not as far as I know. I just made it up, but maybe everyday should be say hello to someone you don't know day. Try it and see what happens.

Let me know. You can leave comments on this blog about your experience.


  1. I say hello to people I don't know all the time, and the results are usually positive.

    What Rev. Sinkford says and what Rev. Sinkford does are two very different things. . .

    His negligent and effectively complicit non-response to my emails seeking restorative justice for me and other people who have been harmed by various forms of clergy misconduct (to say nothing of oter injustices and abuses committed by U*Us) gives the lie to pretty much everything you have said about him here David. If Rev. Bill Sinkford has not the directly participated in U*U demonization and marginalization of "the other" he has certainly turned a blind eye to it and allowed *other* U*Us to do just that. He certainly never expanded his understanding of who our neighbor is to include me did he David? For the record I know of very few U*U clergy misconduct victims who are favorably impressed with Rev. Bill Sinkford but know of some U*Us who believe him to be a hypocrite, as I do. . .


    For the record, I once had an idea for U*U outreach that involved saying hello to a stranger on one particular day in the U*U religious calendar but that idea was rejected along with pretty much all of the other good ideas I proposed to U*Us.

  2. Well you inspired a new original Robin Edgar bon mot today David -

    Any damned fool can *say* the right thing, but not everyone can *do* the right thing. . .