In God We Trust? Rumors

“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood…” -Martin Luther King

Hebrews 11:6 states “without faith it is impossible to please God.” In the attempt to build across the ethnic/cultural divide, building real reconciling relationships, some measure of trust is must be established.

Rumors (Information, often a mixture of truth and untruth, passed around verbally) are a deterrent to trust, relationship and reconciliation. They are the nasty little parasites that hide in between the fibers of the human imagination. They feed off of our fears, prejudices and past experiences, in search of common denominators, or so it may seem. Maybe this is seen as two friends chewing the latest piece of gossip, to the demise of everyone involved. As a society, Christ’s followers included, on the micro level we fall victim to these ugly little side stories that eat away at trust and trustworthiness between individuals and within groups. On the macro level, they can multiply into Ideologies that globally enhance division.

The power of the rumor exists in the willingness of people to listen to them. Rumors cause people to get sidetracked from real issues involved in the communication of engagement through consensus and relationship building. In the one to one process and between any two or more individuals, two driving forces are contending. These are two contrary ideologies are Objectivism and Altruism, i.e. obligation to the concerns of self vs. obligation to the concerns of others.

Many times, people base their individual worldviews on the personal leanings to one of these two. Both of these have their positives and negatives. However, presented in their extreme forms, the two can range from the selfishness of self preservation to denial and lack of personal responsibility. Therein lays the fertile ground for the sowing of the rumor. We see this impasse described in the scripture.

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?  Galatians 5: 13-15 (The Message)

The easy thing to do is for human nature to find a way out of actually engaging cross culturally and to stay at a distance because of the presence of the rumor. Side stories such as, African Americans are lazy and on welfare, Latinos are Law breakers and suspicious, Asians are monolithic and Anglos are racist, become prevailing Ideologies that vanquish the potential for trust.

The objectivist worldview would make one run from those outside of their narrow ethno/cultural lens. While, in this case the Altruistic characteristics of concern for others; is a healthier worldview for “Building the Bridge Together” over the ethnic/cultural divide. This cannot be accomplished unless we establish an environment that is conducive to trust.

Trust is the gateway to understanding that leads to bridging over differences.  Our values lead us to behave morally, even when we might be better off looking out for ourselves. Nothing happens without trust.

People, who are open to displaying trust, seek engagement with the community, at large. They will forgo self-interest and act for the common good, doing things such as community service, giving to charity and embracing principles of honesty. Trust enables a culture of transparent communication. It speaks to a certain comfort level of interpersonal interaction. Real trust does not give place to rumors, but is Christ inspired.

Kevin Robinson Executive Director

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