Being Connected

Sustainer's CircleMy big brother loved baseball. I thought I’d get more of his attention if I, too, loved baseball. Thus my love of the game began. In the late 1960’s I moved to Chicago and immediately became attached to his beloved Cubs. The Cubbies have taken many of us on the journey of loving them no matter what.  

What fun to hear friends’ baseball stories of connection and faithfulness. Perhaps I’m pushing this too far for some, but if something as simple as baseball can remind us of the gift of sharing a common purpose and a connection, then so be it.

It feels right and good to be connected. Connecting pastors with trained mentoring pastors is the heart and soul of Ministry Mentors.  

The Chicago area educational event opened the door to explore another important connection. Dr. Eboo Patel and a panel composed of a Muslim Iman, a Jewish Rabbi and a Christian Pastor shared their stories of common understandings and explored the ways we might connect and learn more about each other for the good of our communities.

From Dr. Eboo Patel we learned that we have the choice of being people who build barriers, bunkers, and bludgeons or people who build bridges.(See pp. 63-65 of Interfaith Leadership, A Primer.) As spiritual leaders may our choice be to build bridges.

Traditionally, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs are arch enemies. The day after the Cubs won the World Series I wore my Cubs shirt everywhere and was greeted by one 88 year old Cardinal fan who said: “I am so happy for you. I celebrate the Cubs. This is not time to be your enemy.” I hugged her and she hugged me back. In this, perhaps some might say insignificant moment of time, we knew that shared stories and joy could never be defeated by separation and hate.

Thank you panel. Thank you Dr. Patel for helping us learn the same lesson about loving our neighbors, loving God, and serving justice, mercy and compassion.

May God increase our connections with each other.

Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson
Executive Director/President