Sharing Community with People who have Lots of Different Experiences
Yesterday I recorded some short comments for our "Celebrating Diverse Abilities" month a student group is hosting here at Fuller in a couple of months. The person coordinating the interviews and recordings is a CODA (child of Deaf Adults), and both of her parents are Deaf. So she grew up using both ASL and English, and immersed in the Deaf community and culture.
As we were setting up the camera angle and getting ready, she was attentive to positioning the camera so that there would be ample space below my face for the captions. I thought about how helpful that was in terms of making sure everyone could access the content, how it was something she instinctively thought about, and about how through relationships with people who have different experiences than we do, we come to naturally attune to the needs of others and can make tweaks to allow for wider accessibility for information, events, and experiences.
This isn't only in terms of disability issues, but people of different religions, races, ethnicities, body sizes, political perspectives, nationalities, genders, sexualities, income levels, education levels, and on and on. The more people from various groups we know and interact with, whether we "agree" with their convictions or not, the more deeply we might understand what the "Common Good" might really look like, and seek that.
Real life relationships are obviously ideal for this, but social media can be a good place to start, too. We can follow on Instagram or Facebook or blogs or whatever people different from us who we can learn from, as they share about their experiences and point of view; so that even if we may not connect with certain perspectives directly in our social groups, we might be able to learn more about different perspectives, needs, frustrations, etc. other folks experience, and take those into account as we plan worship services, social gatherings, and everything else!