Why can parking lots bring out the worst in me?
Why do pastors on television, no matter what they’re saying, make me mad?
Why does my heart race and my palms sweat when I have a lively discussion with someone about a topic on which we disagree?
Why do I feel the need to prove someone wrong when they don’t see things the way I do?
Why is my goal to change their opinion? Why isn’t my primary goal to understand their perspective?
Why do I have trouble discerning the difference between my kids misbehaving or simply not doing things my way?
Where is my former college room mate/current psychoanalyst Jason McCarty when I need him?
I think modernity has created this environment – rightness outweighs empathy; confidence is overvalued; finding comfort somewhere between paradoxical viewpoints is seen as illogical and ludicrous. We have pigeonholed relationships into this world view, unable to discern between people and ideologies. We cannot have civil conversations about politics or religion because, instead of allowing ourselves to marvel at the multiple interpretations of which the human mind is capable, we find out what someone believes and immediately categorize them.
Pro-choice equals life hater.
Pro-life equals legalistic condemner.
Traditional church equals dead church.
Emerging church equals shallow church.
Churched equals religious.
Unchurched equals immoral.
Republicans are indifferent to the plight of the poor.
Democrats are amoral.
And so we stay huddled in our own corners, lobbing rhetorical bombs, the anger intensifying.
Here’s a thought: let someone disagree with you today, and don’t let it affect your self-worth. Consider listening instead of persuading.
“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do” (Ann Lamotte)
When’s the last time you changed your mind about something you are passionate about? Never? Ever consider that the odds you are right about EVERYTHING is probably nil?
Phew. Glad I got all that off my chest. Tomorrow will be lighter. Promise.