"The challenge, then, is to recognize that the world is about two things: differentiation and communion. The challenge is to seek a unity that celebrates diversity, to unite the particular with the universal, to recognize the need for roots while insisting that the point of roots is to put forth branches. What is intolerable is for differences to become idolatrous. No human being's identity is exhausted by his or her gender, race, ethnic origin, national loyalty, or sexual orientation. All human beings have more in common than they have in conflict, and it is precisely when what they have in conflict seems overwhelming that what they have in common needs most to be affirmed. James Baldwin described us well: 'Each of us, helplessly and forever, contains the other — male in female, female in male, white in black and black in white. We are part of each other.' "


"If Jesus never walked on the Sea of Galilee, he is still to Christians their Messiah. For Christ is not God's magic incarnate but God's love incarnate. He was not one to go around, Houdini-like, breaking the laws of physical nature but rather one who, beyond all limits of human nature, loved as none before or after him has ever loved. In the face of such awesome love even the waves must rise up and the winds bow down, even as at his birth a star stood still and at his death the earth quaked, rending rocks and splitting graves wide open.

"All miracles, including biblical miracles, fall into one of two general categories. There are miracles that are a basis of faith and others that are an expression of faith.

"In the story of Jesus walking on the water, the true miracle, the one that is the basis of faith and makes the story eternally if not literally true, takes place when despairing Peter cries out 'Lord save me," and Jesus does. That's really the central miracle of every Christian life. When sinking in our sense of helplessness, we reach out for a love greater than we ourselves can ever express, when we reach out for a truth deeper than we could ever articulate and for a beauty richer than we ourselves can ever contain, when we too cry out 'Lord save me,' Jesus does. Cry out for a thimbleful of help, and you receive an oceanful in return."

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