The Oasis - August 16, 2023

Author: Rev. Eric Dupee
August 16, 2023

     I sometimes hear: “You’re only as happy as your least happy child.” That make sense to me. Parents tend to be so invested in their children and so affected by their disappointments and struggles, that if the child struggles, the parent struggles. I think that’s a good example of a concept that has come up in the book the group at the church has been reading this summer: The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu. 
     There is a concept the authors have mentioned more than once. They write, “In South Africa, Ubuntu is our way of making sense of the world. The word literally means “humanity.” It is the philosophy and belief that a person is only a person through other people. In other words, we are human only in relation to other humans.”
     If I understand the concept, it calls into question the “rugged individualism” and the value placed on self – sufficiency that’s so much a part of our culture. I am who I am, because of my relationship with others. We might not be as invested in one another’s lives as a parent is with a child, but, to some degree, my well-being is tied up in your well-being and vice versa. 
     I wonder what kind of a difference it would make if we applied the concept of Ubuntu to our family life, our church life, and our community life. How could Ubuntu inform the political division in our world? These are some of the things The Book of Forgiving has me pondering. It is also why I appreciate church life so much. It’s the realization that I am because we are.

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