Danville Express

Perspective - January 19, 2007

Bridging the gap

It's easy to get caught up in our own way of thinking. It is sometimes labeled being caught in one's egocentric predicament, unable to view reality from outside of one's own perceptions. And there is no doubt that this inability to see the larger picture causes problems, from forming personal relationships to conducting diplomacy worldwide.

How wonderful that the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church has taken a step to get people to expand their thinking. The church is presenting a series of workshops called "Bridging the Gap: Overcoming the Cultural Divide" to find out what groups better known for their differences have in common. The topics include the economy and the environment; science and religion; liberal and conservation issues; Christianity and Islam. The pastors at the church said the purpose of the dialogues is to bridge the differences between people who are diverse. They said they want to built a community rather than tear it apart.

In a similar vein, the American Association of University Women had scheduled a speaker who opens dialogues with people around the world, hoping to help everyone break down stereotypes and recognize their similarities. She refers to the young women in one international study as "the first global generation of women." The generation now in its 20s is the first to have the world at its fingertips, so to speak, thanks to technology.

The technical ability to communicate can only lead to resolving differences if the minds of the communicators are open enough to truly hear what the others are saying and to reach solutions together. Despite technology, chaos caused by the differences in the world continues unchecked.

What we do in Danville and Alamo may not cause a ripple on the world scene but at the very least it can help us respect each other and form our own opinions with an open mind. Kudos to the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church for responding to the grim state of the world with a positive step. For more information, call 837-5243.

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