The Washington Times - May 16, 2008, 12:03PM


src=”” />     By: Jay Speights


Welcome to the “Interconnections Community.” This is what we will call it for now. Hopefully this community will grow and evolve into something else.  Hey, speaking about growing communities, what does that mean? Communities grow all the time. So why is this important enough to merit some discussion on this page?

Let me tell you why. Yes, communities grow and our city and region is growing rapidly. Look at all those condos, office parks and buildings sprouting up. You see them everywhere. This is one hustling, bustling and growing region. Economic development is one way a city or region can grow. But what about our growth as a loving and harmonious community? That’s another type of growth isn’t it?

By community I mean  the Metro area, DC, Maryland and Virginia. Yes, we are all interconnected. We are interconnected through technology, sports teams, schools, highways, commuting, sewage, water, and everyday human interactions. I submit to you, that this growing community of ours is fairly divided. There are walls dividing this community everywhere and at every level from the state, county, and city all the way down to the smallest neighborhoods. These walls prevent us from experiencing the richness of the culture and traditions of our neighbors that could possibly enhance our lives. A wall that divides a community can be religion, race, geographic barrier, sexual preference, age, gender, politics, etc.

Let me offer a very basic example of how I experienced religion as a a wall.  One afternoon, after making the rounds in my community, I stopped by a friend’s shop. After the usual greeting, she began to talk about her church activities. She is very active in her church and extremely proud of the work she does there. At one point in the conversation, she began to talk about the Bible and said, “The Bible is the great book, and it is the one that all other books will be judged by.” After she made that statement, she looked at me as if she was waiting for me to affirm her statement. Then she asked me if I agreed with her.

Well, you should have seen her face when I said, “The Bible is one of many great books, such as the Bhagavad-Gita, Koran, Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Torah, that contain divine revelations and guidance.” She looked like she could faint and said that she said , “I don’t see how you could say that.” When I collected my thoughts, I said to her: “I honor all religious traditions and believe that no single book or religion can make an exclusive claim to the absolute truth as it relates to God. So I shifted the subject to another topic because I saw where my friend was like so many of us. She felt that her theology or philosophy was absolutely right and everything else is wrong.

You see this need to be absolutely right and seeing differences first instead of what we share in common, is what divides communities and erects invisible walls of isolation. A stonewall will wither away with time. However, a wall built upon fear and ignorance can last forever.

It is my deepest hope that my friend will not stay behind the wall that she is allowing to separate us. And believe me, she is trying her best to do that. I feel that it is part of the mission of this online community to draw attention to and tear down these walls and prevent more from being built. We will also focus on what we share in common and not our differences. Clearly there is more that unites us than that which divides us.

So what walls are out there that you feel divide this community of ours and tell me how we can tear them down? Also let me know how we can grow a more loving and harmonious community based on what we share in common and not our differences. In thinking and talking about the interconnectedness of our community, let’s not forget that we are interconnected to the rest of this nation and globe as well.

I will close this inuagural post with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”


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You can learn more about me at .  And be sure to buy my new book, “Harmonious Day.”