How can we make room for everyone at the table? In an election year, how can we avoid polarity and treat each other with kindness? #Human(Kind) #socialjustice #SuperTuesday #election #Christian #politics #inclusion

How can we make room for everyone at the table? In an election year, how can we avoid polarity and treat each other with kindness?

How can we make room for everyone at the table? In an election year, how can we avoid polarity and treat each other with kindness? #Human(Kind) #socialjustice #SuperTuesday #election #Christian #politics

No Kid’s Table in MY House

“How will we fit 29 people around the table?” my daughter asked.

“We’ll pull out our folding tables and just snake them around the room,” I said. “I think we’ll all fit.”

“No one has to sit at a kid’s table?” she asked.

“Nope. No kid’s table here,” I answered. “Everyone gets to sit together at the table in our house.”

We’d never had a kid’s table for any of our meals, so she must have read about the dread kid’s table in one of the many books she read. We continued to prepare for our crowd of guests and ended up forming a giant L that stretched from the dining room across the living room.

Our table didn’t look like anything Martha Stewart would have thrown together, but with candles, our entire plate and silverware collection, and nicely folded napkins, it did look inviting.

And everyone would get to sit together—even the little people with their crumbs and clumsy manners.

Inviting Others Around the Table

In order to make room at the table for everyone, we have to first acknowledge our humanness. As Ashlee Eiland says in her book Human(Kind), we have to see people—even the people we don’t like to look at because they make us uncomfortable. We must acknowledge each individual’s birthright to dignity.

How can we make room for everyone at the table? In an election year, how can we avoid polarity and treat each other with kindness? #Human(Kind) #socialjustice #SuperTuesday #election #Christian #politics

Once we understand the value of each human being, we can start to make room for them around the table. The figurative table where we fight polarity and injustice. It may take us a while to invite people who seem so different from ourselves into our homes to sit around our physical table.

But we can start today to invite them to fit around our figurative table. A place where we give them space even if their ideas, feelings, and opinions differ wildly from our own. We can ask questions that probe rather than questions that accuse or assume.

Instead of judging and condemning each other with polarizing language in social places, we can listen for the undercurrent of core values that might make them speak the way they do. And by doing so, we make room at the table for them.

My Prayer for Our Nation

As we enter another election year, may we all remember to invite everyone to the table and refrain from relegating anyone to a kid’s table. Before we post, comment, love, or leave an angry face, may we stop and think—and pray. As Christians, may we remember that Jesus died for all of us—even the people we don’t agree with, dislike, or have an aversion to.

Instead of wasting our time looking at our differences under the microscope (which allows us to justify the way we treat people who don’t look, act, and think like us), may we seek the things we have in common. Starting with a common birthright to dignity and respect. Our sins of self-righteousness look just as dirty to God and someone else’s sin of murder.

Sometimes, people will show up to the table with crumbs and clumsy manners, but they still deserve the dignity of inclusion. Can we do less than Jesus, who hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes? He never turns anyone away from the table. I want to be like Jesus.

My prayer is simple: May we invite everyone to the table and treat them with dignity as human beings. #politics #electionyear #fmfparty Click To Tweet

17 Comments

  1. I always disliked a “kids table”. It drew parents away as they cared for their youngsters, disrupted conversation and meant you had no time to actually talk to younger relatives. Bring them all in messy or not. Same as at any function. Let everyone sit and talk and get to know each other. It’s the best way to get to understand each other in a meaningful way. 🙂 #3 this week
    Annette recently posted…I like tablesMy Profile

  2. Come on in and sit right down.
    find a spot if you are able,
    just be careful of the brown
    Pit that’s sleeping on the table.
    I don’t know why he likes it there,
    but he’s a most eccentric chap,
    and I only think it fair
    to let him choose where he might nap.
    He’s quite pleasant, no mistake,
    and his manners are quite good;
    you will find that when he wakes
    he’ll politely ask to share your food.
    You’ll marvel at how he’s refined
    as he sips your goblet of white wine.

  3. Great read. Though I do like kids tables at dinner parties. I love the way kids converse with each other, the way they interact when they don’t even know adults are listening. 🙂

  4. I liked this blog. I had to narrow my FB friends down to people who think and act like me and have the same beliefs, values and political party as me. I hated to do it, but there was so much contention from both sides and it was the only way to end all of the fighting. I still have some family members that have beliefs, values and political parties that oppose mine, but they love me and do not attack my posts and I do not attack theirs. I have very strong feelings about God, life, values, morals, issues such as abortion, illegal immigration etc and who should be our next president. Their opposing viewpoints are just as strong as mine but as I said we do not fight about it- because we love each other. I wish I could open friendships on FB to more people, but I cannot do it without inciting attacks on what I post. Anyway I really did like this blog.

    1. It’s taken me a long time to understand that just because people don’t share my feelings and opinions, it doesn’t make them wrong or me right. This probably has something to do with my Enneagram type ;).

  5. “In order to make room at the table for everyone, we have to first acknowledge our humanness…” that and so many unforgettable lines here, blest reading.🌻

  6. It makes such a difference to spend time with those who think differently from us – to love and show respect even when there are things we disagree on. And I love when kids are included at the table along with everyone else.

  7. Thank you for these thoughts, Anita! I really enjoyed reading them, they resonate with what’s on my heart for inviting people to our tables and lives!

  8. “Instead of judging and condemning each other with polarizing language in social places, we can listen for the undercurrent of core values that might make them speak the way they do. And by doing so, we make room at the table for them.” This is Kingdom living.

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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