Come and see

Nathanael said to him,
           “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
           Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
                                 —John 1.46

We’ve already decided
no one from Nazareth should be taken seriously.
Let’s confess what I call our cultural fundamentalism:
the belief that there is only one truth, and we own it.
The belief that my group (however I identify it) alone matters,
and we alone are entitled to decide
what is Real, True and Important.
We will not be dissuaded from our illusions by facts,
because it’s not the truth but who says it that matters.
If the speaker is one of us and protects our entitlement
(and magnifies our grievance at the loss of that entitlement)
we will believe whatever they say.
But the voice of an outsider simply doesn’t matter.
We are entitled to define what’s True, Real and Important,
and they are not. No one from Nazareth.

It’s the way of religious fundamentalists,
conspiracy theorists, white supremacists,
and other like-minded people.
It’s the basis of racism, sexism, heterosexism,
and every form of discrimination,
behind every crusade, pogrom, witch-hunt and genocide.
Whites, Americans, men, Christians—we all suffer from it.

What’s the antidote? “Come and see.”
Humility. Willingness to hear another’s truth.
Listening. Taking the “other” seriously.
Attending most deeply not to those defending their entitlement,
but to those who have none.

God, help me listen deeply and humbly.
Help me see all people as real, as whole, beloved people.
Bid me always, “Come and see.”

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

January 12, 2021

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