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“The Practice of Encountering Others”

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What we have most in common is not religion but humanity. I learned this from my religion, which also teaches us that encountering another human being is as close to God as I may ever get — in the eye-to-eye thing, the person-to-person thing — which is where God’s Beloved has promised to show up. Paradoxically, the point is not to see him. The point is to see the person standing right in front of me, who has no substitute, who can never be replaced, whose heart holds things for which there is no language, whose life is an unsolved mystery. The moment I turn that person into a character in my own story, the encounter is over. I have stopped being a human being and have become a fiction writer instead.

~ Barbara Brown Taylor [An Altar in the World]