January 30, 2016

There is no “Other” in a biblical ethic.

Rondall Reynoso
Photo by Pamela Reynoso
Photo by Pamela Reynoso

This is something I wrote as a long rambling Facebook status about six months ago. Today someone shared it and I decided that I should make it into a short blog post. I think with the Iowa caucus this next week and the political “season” kicking into full gear this is something we really need to remember…somethingI really need to remember.

From an August 7, 2015 Facebook post…edited for my vanity’s sake.

I often see conservatives belittling those who disagree with them as evil or stupid. But, lets not pretend that they are the only ones. I see liberals doing the same thing. Today I saw a religious liberal condemn the intellectualism of a religious moderate as no better than anti-intellectualism. Conservatives often unfairly attack Obama and Hillary. But, lets not pretend that liberals didn’t do the same with Bush. There has always been a sense of us and them throughout history. Gentiles (Greeks) and Jews, Greeks and Barbarians, Democrats and Republicans. I see this same mentality brought into personal relationships where people want to agree to disagree when they disagree with you but not when you disagree with them. On both the personal and political fronts these disagreements then become attacks on the morals or intelligence of the other. Obama isn’t evil or stupid. You just disagree with him. Cruz isn’t evil or stupid. I just disagree with him. In our world, we seem more and more only able to get along with those with whom we agree. With so much information out there, we are able to always find support for our views regardless of their connection to truth. I don’t see that changing. But, I often think about how Christ said that it wasn’t a virtue to only love those who love us. Even the tax collectors (the first century Jewish villans) did that. The real virtue is loving those who disagree with us…even those who spitefully use us. So much of the Biblical ethic is about there not being the “other.” There is now no Jew or Greek in the New Testament; in the Old Testament, the laws about caring for and protecting the foreigner are really strong. That is the Biblical ethic that I want to see brought to our nation today. Vanish the concept of the other or at the very least show them prodigal grace and limitless love.

Rondall Reynoso


Rondall is an artist, scholar, and speaker. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. He holds an MFA in Painting and an MS in Art History from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and is completing a Ph.D. in Art History and Aesthetics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

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