Coexistence is Not Enough

Beyond Coexistence Rally

Reflections for the 1st Annual Solidarity and Peace Rally in Oklahoma City.

Given the long history of inter-religious conflict, it is a laudable goal to have persons from different religions and persons of no religion be able to tolerate one another, get along with each other. and coexist. Certainly the ability to coexist in peace is a vast improvement on what are often openly hostile and sometimes violent interactions among people of different faiths. There is no denying that for significant progress to be made in our society and in the world, coexistence with each other is a necessary precondition for stability and peace.

But I am here today to say that getting along with each other is not enough. As important as tolerance and coexistence are to our common life together, they are not enough if we truly want to move towards the flourishing of human community within the context of our ecological community. The challenges of our time are too great for people of different faiths to simply get along. The urgency of now requires people of all faiths along with people of no particular faith to work together in the human community for the transformation of the world towards peace, justice, and sustainability. If we simply get along without being agents of transformation, our inaction will contribute to horrific suffering in the future as a consequence of simply perpetuating the status quo that will eventually lead to ecological and economic collapse.

It is not enough just to get along when we as human beings are contributing to the sixth great extinction of life on earth and when we are collectively living beyond the carrying capacity of our planet. We are called to be transformative human communities working together to care for, heal, and restore the earth and the diversity life that the earth sustains.

It is not enough just to get along when billions of persons are living in poverty, without adequate access to water, food, and shelter; when millions of persons suffer and die from preventable, curable, or treatable diseases. We are called to be transformative human communities working together to change the systems and structures that perpetuate poverty and to create a world in which basic needs are met for all for the sake of the dignity of all persons.

It is not enough just to get along in our society when all over the world there is violence and war that is contributing to the suffering and death of millions. We are called to be transformative human communities working together to create peace and to be witnesses for soul force over physical force and nonviolence over violence. We are called to be transformative communities that drive out hate and violence through love and creative compassion.

And it is not enough for us just to get along with each other here in our own community in Oklahoma City and in Oklahoma when hundreds of thousands of persons are uninsured and lack adequate and affordable healthcare. It is not enough for us just to get along when one out of four children lives in poverty here in our city, and when more women are in prison in Oklahoma than in any other place on the planet. It is not enough for us to just get along when there are vast inequities in access to quality education, and when specific groups of persons and specific faith communities are being singled out for discrimination. It is not enough for us to just get along when there are so many persons in our communities who do not feel that their voices are being heard and who do not feel that their dignity is being respected. We are called to be a transformative human community to help all voices be expressed and be heard, to work for a community in which the basic needs for human dignity and human flourishing can be experienced by all.

I bring good news today, and that good news is that we are not just going to get along with each other here in Oklahoma City and in Oklahoma and beyond. We are already doing more than just getting along, we are moving beyond coexistence and moving towards transformative community in service with each other, enriched and informed by the wisdom of our own faith traditions and by the compassion that can be found in our common humanity. Today, let us covenant together to do more than just get along, let us covenant together to be transformative agents as we work together for a more peaceful, just, sustainable, and beloved community. Peace be with you, and may we all be creators of peace.

Advertisements

About Mark Y. A. Davies

Mark Davies is The Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and Director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. From 2009 to 2015, Mark was dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences and Wimberly Professor of Social Ethics at Oklahoma City University. Previously, Mark was dean of the Wimberly School of Religion at Oklahoma City University and Founding Director of the Vivian Wimberly Center for Ethics and Servant Leadership. Prior to becoming dean of the Wimberly School of Religion in 2002, he was associate dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University and chair of the department of philosophy. Mark has published in the areas of Boston personalism, process philosophy and ethics, and ecological ethics. Dr. Davies serves on the United Methodist University Senate, which is “an elected body of professionals in higher education created by the General Conference to determine which schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church.” He and his wife Kristin live in Edmond, OK in the United States, and they have two daughters. The views expressed by the author in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of Oklahoma City University.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s