“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. Matthew 7: 1-5 NRSV

I recently read an article about the Danish organization called “The Human Library.” The Human Library lets you “read a book,” meaning hear the story of someone different from you. You can check out a variety of “titles” of “books” willing to share their story. The library, which has been operating since 2000, has a purpose “to challenge prejudice, stereotypes and to educate about minorities and people, who differ from what is considered ‘the norm’.” People can borrow a human book from the library and the book will tell its story, present its points of view, answer any questions, and share any thoughts. Book titles range from refugee, unemployed, soldier, HIV+, to young mother.

CEO and founder Ronni Abergel says, “All people judge and so we are not here to change your mind or to tell you not to judge. We are here to make information available to you in a safe setting. So you can make your own decisions, but hopefully better informed decisions. Based not on a quick judgment, but after more careful consideration and after meeting someone that knows about it. Gives you a chance to unjudge someone.”

In these days of extreme polarization, I find it increasingly difficult to engage thoughtfully and listen deeply to someone who differs in opinion from me. Do you? (Please tell me I’m not the only one.)  This story about The Human Library prods me to remember that we are all “books” with our own experiences and histories that make up who we are and our perspectives. I wonder what books I might check out to gain insight and understanding, or at least not judge as much. I wonder what books you might check out? Friends in Christ, may we remember that nothing can separate us, not even story books, as we are united as one by the love of God. 

In Peace, Pastor Ruth

Community Prayer: The Prayer of Good Courage
Lord God,
you have called your servants 
to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown.
Give us faith to go out with good courage,
not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us
and your love supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.