"Segregation feeds self-interest and integration fights self-interest"
Such a powerful statement that cuts to to the quick about what are too often the motivations for segregation. If I don't have you with me, you cannot make demands on me, so I can continue on in my own self-focussed self-interest. I can claim that your segregation is in some way what is best for you, but in reality it is all about me. I will not need to change to accommodate you. I will not be inconvenienced by you and your need to have me do something for you. I won't have to change my programs, or my schedule, or make room for you in my car. I don't need to find out about your life, the challenges you might face from agencies or the community and that makes me happy because I am focussed on self-interest.
Integration truly is the enemy of self-interest because if you are with me, I have to consider your wants, your needs, YOU, in the things that I do. Your presence, integrated with me, will make me feel uncomfortable about my affluence if I you are poor. Your presence, integrated with me, will make me worry about whether you are being treated well by the community. Your presence, integrated with me, will make me wonder whether you have friends and whether I perhaps could be your friend. I start thinking about all kinds of things that take my mind off of myself.
I have heard people at times complain about their inability to worship when people are present who are typically segregated because of their social skills, or behavior, or even appearance. This should point to the fact that even worship is at times all about self-interest, once again. I should be able to worship in the manner in which I have become accustomed because you have not been with me. Don't know where you have been, but it is better for me if you are there. Rather than coming to the inclusive definition of worship that would come with integration, I prefer the self-centered notion of worship where you are segregated.
When I think about the example of Jesus and the people who crowded him, the people to whom hs spoke, the people he interacted with and healed, I can only think it must have been a very integrated, third world group. Yeah, people would tell others to "Shut up!" but Jesus would call their name and ask them to come and meet him. I want to be like that. I want my life to be integrated as much as I am can: not choosing to segregate myself from others out of my own self-interest. I wish I was better at that then I am. I want my lifestyle of inclusiveness to be a soldier that is truly fighting the battle of defeating my self-interest because anything that can help me to do that, will make me more like Jesus, will develop my faith, will model the reality of how life should be. In the same way that devalued people need to be with me, I need to be with devalued people. Not because of what I can do for them, but for what they can do for me in defeating my desire for comfort, desire to be left alone, desire for my own self-interest.
Memorize Doug's phrase. It will impact your day to day life and how you understand the life of the Church,