Pride for our identities and communities can be a source of strength. Pride can also lead us to forget empathy for those unlike us. A generous reminder that the reach of our compassion must stretch beyond the familiar.
In his interview with Krista Tippett, the Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho surprised us by recalling Krista's 2010 TED talk at the United Nations. It is in wrestling with ourselves and our contradictions, he says, that we uncover the breeding grounds of compassion.
A novel way of understanding the other and meeting your neighbor.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution etched on the doors going into the Mass Media building at Western Kentucky University. (photo: Alan Hudson/Flickr)
When I was a child, the phrase “Defender of the Faith” did not conjure images of the Latin title Fidei defensor or of the British crown. Rather, it somehow got tangled up with another prominent idiom of my youth, “Masters of the Universe,” which referred to the popular Mattel media franchise starring He-Man. A defender of the faith was a kind of superhero, a person of great strength with an important mission.
These days, the phrase invokes yet another, completely different meaning to me. I now think of a defender of the faith as anyone who attempts to wrestle the reputation of his faith out of the hands of those who, through their actions or speech, disparage it.