I attended a training course this week. The message was all about tolerance - I won't say tolerance in which respect, except that it's a controversial issue. There aren't clear right/wrongs. Just a myriad of differing opinions and attitudes.
Except that, on this course, it seemed I was the only one who had a different opinion.
All the time we were being encouraged to be tolerant, to educate others on the difficulties a particular group in our society experience and how they feel isolated and marginalised...that was exactly how I felt. Isolated, marginalised, not daring to express a differing opinion. Experiencing the invisible barrier which others from this group are said to experience.
So, I wonder, am I being intolerant by having a different opinion? Or are the 'tolerant' being intolerant of me and my 'intolerance'? And so I am having to be tolerant of those who think I am 'intolerant'...where does it all end?
The course wasn't about tolerance. The course was about trying to get me to teach a particular viewpoint to the children in my care. And there are a lot of reasons - good reasons - why I'm not sure I can agree with that viewpoint, or even agree that it would help children to teach it. Fortunately, my colleagues agree with me.
And the bottom line is... don't speak to me of groups. Speak to me of individuals; give me the opportunity to love them - as Jesus did.