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By Ron Baker

Let me show you my family table.

I’ve just arrived home from a family wedding. At the reception table, relatives sat and talked and measured our lives.

In the early years of my life, my father’s family reunions were held in Duntroon, Ontario. The relatives were from one distinct religious background. They were all ethnically the same – with spouses from the same cultural stream.

I could write a Dick and Jane story about them that would have looked white and carried the same expectations as to morals, God, eternity and life in general.

My table is significantly different now. I write my stories with this in mind. I am personally related to all sorts of diversity. While I hold to truth, I do not want to write as an enraged and unforgiving fanatic. I desire to live in harmony, as much as possible.

Let me show you my family table. I have many friends and extended relative networks, but this table focuses in on my parents, my siblings, my spouses’s siblings, my children and their spouses.

Occupationally, we have covered the spectrum. Doctor, Lawyer, Professor, Writer, Artist, House Painter, Security Guard, Student, Administrator, Health Care Administrator, Chief Financial Officer of an agricultural firm, Accountant, Nurse, Teacher, Theatrical Stage Manager, Child Care Worker, Railway Mechanic, Vice President of international company, Benevolent Sponsor, TV director, Professional Guitarist, Contractor, Vocalists, Automotive Mechanic, Interior Designer, Actor, Coder, Photographer, Meteorologist, Unemployed, Postman, Software Developer, former Police Officer – I’m sure I forgot someone.

Ethnically and nationality wise, there are Native (First Nations), native Mexican born, Scottish, Mennonite European, English, American, Dutch. I am the “stereotypical” male WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant).

Religiously, I am an ordained Christian minister. Others follow Native Spirituality, secularism, disenchanted individuals who despise institutional religion, atheism, agnosticism, pantheism, and no religion to speak of. There is a Christian professor with a Doctor of Theology in the group, along with Jewish relations.

Relationally, in the now wide-open area of marriage, we seem to cover it all. There are heterosexual couples, a same-sex married couple, divorcees, second marriages (with the first wife deceased prior to the second marriage), mixed race and mixed religious marriages.

Political diversity is present. Cancer has taken two siblings already. We live in small towns and large cities. Rationed finances stand beside amply supplied funds. Chefs and foodies stand next to non-cooks (even though my last name is Baker!).

Here I sit – desiring to live in harmony.

Who sits at your table?

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