top of page

Intimacy Humanizes

What does it mean to be different? Distinct? Rare?

Each of us has been carefully crafted and intimately designed with unprecedented originality. Despite our uniqueness, we have a tendency to align ourselves with those who share similar ideologies. By doing so, we tether ourselves to the illusion that uniformity IS unity and those who are different are often feared because they present a threat.

We have been indoctrinated to undervalue difference; o subjugate it and exploit it in exchange for privilege. Instead of lifting up difference, we subdue it. Instead of understanding difference, we rebuke it. Instead of celebrating difference, we vilify it. There is a dissonance between these acts of negation and our primal desire for connection.

Other cultures have a much different idea about about the essentiality of interdependence and social connection in our lives. In Western Culture, we like to think of ourselves as relatively unaffected when people and things ebb and flow around us. We remain steadfast in our personal pursuit. I suspect, this is a narrative we have created to ease our way

Let me tell you why ...

The study of mammals, from the smallest rodent to humans has produced overwhelming evidence that suggests, we are profoundly shaped by our social environment. But there’s a catch ... When our social bonds are threatened or even severed, we suffer. When trauma occurs in childhood, it affects our ability to learn and it affects our health.

Steeped in a culture of individualism, we may not appreciate what collectivism has to offer

or value the notion that our well-being depends on others, but it does! The sacred connection that binds us together is intentional M. Jacqui Alexander writes: “Separation can never ultimately feed that deep place within us; that space of the erotic, that space of the Soul, that space of the Divine.”

You see, intimacy humanizes!

I once bore witness to a remarkable story from an Iraqi veteran. She had trained as a military police officer, and was tasked with guarding prisoners. And these were not just any prisoners. These were the worst of the worst; hose Saddam Hussein had incarcerated.

In the middle of the scorching hot Iraqi desert, the US military erected an outdoor prison compound. There were six secured areas, each the size of a football field. The perimeters were fenced in and the ground covered in dirt and stone. She went on to explain, each area held 250-500 prisoners and each area was patrolled by 5-6 soldiers and humvees.

Over the course of the many months, this soldier shared of an increasing interactions with the prisoners. Confined with the same people day in and day out, together they established an unexpected rapport . They shared stories about their families, their faiths, and life experiences. They talked of their traditions and how each made meaning of their lives.

On the night of Ramadan the prisoners grew restless. Out of nowhere, the prisoners began to charge the fence line, each with hands full of rocks. They began to attack the soldiers, stoning them. This soldier shared of how she feared for her life that night. She looked left and saw her fellow soldiers running. She looked right and saw others bleeding. As she panned back to center, inside the fence stood a prisoner, arms outstretched, safeguarding her corner of the compound. There stood a man, stepping out against hundreds, to protect her. He could have been stoned himself, deemed a traitor, or even killed. Shaking and afraid, she remembered being taught that he was her enemy and yet, he risked his life to save hers.

Intimacy humanizes!

We can hold on to the consciousness that we are all unique and still acknowledge how differently our lives have been shaped. At the same time, we can nurture that sacred space for the Divine. We can foster our connectedness and transform the way we are in relationship with ourselves, the other, and with the whole.

In order for us to realize the fullness of the Imago Dei, the Spirit of Life, our ancestors and allies, Divine Wisdom and Oneness of all Being, we must come together to dismantle the walls that have been erected to keep us apart. We must transcend dissimilarity and forge community out of the strength of our difference.

In a world that dehumanize as a tool of manipulation and control ... Intimacy humanizes!

Who will you touch?

13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

January 2008 : A story by Rev. Rebecca Kemper Poos, Associate Pastor of Congregational Life at Columbine United Church in Littleton, Colorado. It was the Thursday before Christmas.  The secretary g

bottom of page