Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hate Mail revisited - aka See, I Told You So

To This Post, a blog reader I’m not sure I know said this:

Are you kidding me???

I think there are those that need to get their heads out of their.... bible and pay attention to the real issues here.

Not that you care... but you just lost a blog follower.

Alas, I knew there would be somebody that would get offended.

Know what I wonder? I wonder what the “real issues” are for her?

For me, the issues are HUGE and scary and uncertain. For me, its about how I’m going to be able to feed my family, care for the people I love, plan for a college education, educate my kids in public schools, reduce the ever-increasing burden of my taxes, provide medical insurance, save the ever-diminishing trees and precious wild-life in my neighborhood, stem urban decay, bring home the soldiers I love, reduce all the unnecessary and irresponsible waste of resources and money, leave a legacy for my grand children, and the list goes on and on.

I wonder if she and I share some of the same fears and uncertainties...

But this whole thing brings to mind something that I find interesting so I’m going to blog about it.

What is it in our country today that dictates that we all must agree on everything to get along? Why do we have to be on “sides?” And why, if you and I are not on the same “side” must we cut off all communication between us?

I have many friends who have different political opinions, social standings, ideals, dreams, ways of raising their kids, religious beliefs, you name it. I talk to most of them often. I’ve learned that they are the SUM of their parts, not that they are defined by ONE part. These people enrich my life greatly by our differences.

It seems the atmosphere in our country these days dictates that we are polarized over things that should draw us together. We look at people with different opinions as our “enemy” and some how assume them less than we are…less intelligent, less informed, less tolerant, less loving, less…whatever…So, if I say something you don’t like, you abandon the entire relationship even though you’ve found my blog interesting up to now? You assume I’m an idiot because we don’t agree?

I could be off base here, but here is how I see it:

If we surround ourselves with ONLY like-minded people, we are certainly more comfortable, but we miss MUCH that we are meant to see and experience. What are we missing by allowing ourselves to be polarized over politics (or anything else for that matter)? Do we miss different opinions? Do we miss something that might make us more aware? Do we lose perspective on what “the other side” means and who, exactly, is on it?

You see, this is the VERY kind of thing that leads to radical behavior. As far as I’m concerned, the only thing that is ALL or NOTHING is DEATH! So, so sad that a different opinion leads to a completely severed “relationship”.

I have an amazing friend named Karen. She simply rocks. She and I are polar opposites on politics and do not always agree on spiritual matters. But we share views on raising children, on helping the underdog, on marriage. She is one of the most amazing people that I’ve ever met! And I bet she thinks I’m crazy for my politics. BUT that’s ok. Its not the end of our relationship. And THIS is what we are called to do with relationships with other people. Listen, talk, learn and if you must, agree to disagree, focus on what we have in common rather than how we are different.

I’ll say that I resent the implication that I can’t make an informed decision because I have my head stuck in a Bible. You see what I often try to convey here is that I believe my Bible is my guidance for everything. I believe it is the inerrant word of an almighty God who has given us the play book and it should be followed. It is where I go to check what people say against what God says. My most meaningful information doesn’t come from the flawed mouth of men…it comes from the perfect will of God.

But please don't for one second be deceived into believing that I never read anything else. Ask anyone who knows me and you will find that I’m VERY well read…I’m a bit of an information junkie. And not only that, but, once upon a time, I lived a very liberal and very wild life. I have had many more experiences than you could possibly imagine by looking at my scrapbooking and avatar.

I STRUGGLE with the balance between life and what the Bible tells me. I often discuss those struggles RIGHT HERE in the text of my blog and I make no bones about the fact that I’m walking out my faith, working out my faith, struggling with my faith. I STRUGGLE with concepts like obedience, submission, and meekness, because I’m a strong, well-educated, tenacious, intelligent woman who has pulled herself up by the boot-straps more than one time. I struggle with the concept that even the most inept leaders are ordained by God. I’m a Christian that might just surprise you, if given half a chance.

That said, I have formed my opinion based on what I read and know about God and, welcome to America, folks, I am ALLOWED to have that opinion. Just as you are ALLOWED to have yours.

And, AnnaBeth, while I’m sorry to see you go, I’m not sorry that I’ve asserted my God-given and American right to freely express my well-educated and, yes, I’ll put it in writing – Christian-based opinion.

I’m really so glad that you have also exercised your God-given and American right by leaving your opinion here. However, I’m not glad that your comments seem to assume me incapable of forming an intelligent and informed opinion simply because I read my Bible and understand what it says to me.

I’m glad that you and I are different, that we have different opinions and feelinsg about the candidates in the upcoming election. I believe differences are beautiful and amazing and enlightening and fascinating. Our differences make us unique and contribute richness to the fabric of our lives. However, I’m not glad that you have assumed that I have nothing of any value to say anymore because we don’t share our views on THIS.

I’m glad you finally found something worthy to comment about on my blog. I don't think I've seen your name on a comment before. However, I’m not glad that you have left me no opportunity to track back to you, no opportunity for us to open a dialog and have an intelligent and respectful conversation about our different opinions. You might have educated me. Instead you insulted me and left me no way to discuss it with you openly.

So…for anyone who might still be reading, I welcome your opinions…I assume you are all loving, intelligent and amazing people doing your very best in a sometimes hostile world…hopefully you assume the same about me.

I can’t wait to get to know you and understand where you are coming from.

Peace ya’ll!


MaryC said...

Okay, I could tell her where she could put her head...but I am bigger than that.
Perhaps if some folks in America and beyond would take off their idealistic glasses and look at the issues IRL, they would understand that the Bible ain't a bad place to search for answers.
People have been throwing around the 'anti' about Obama because he fits the profile. Doesn't mean that's what he is but...he has the charisma with not too much to back it up. That's all. Nobody knows for sure and it doesn't seem to bother people to call McCain another Bush when in fact, they differ on many fronts.
I, like this blogger, have a wide variety of views and opinions. I am certain I do not agree with everything this blogger thinks and I am going out on a limb here; I bet she doesn't agree with all of mine. So?
Are you kidding me?
Nope. Not at all.
Have a nice life, Anna...

Farmerswife said...

After reading your reply....I knew that I had to share this quote with is not earth shattering, nor is it new....I use it almost of the older ladies that I attend Church with gave it to me when our family was facing some problems that had made local news...."Those that judge, do not matter and those that matter do not judge"

I loved your post today.....and you hit the nail on the head with todays words....what a boring place my world would be if all my circle of friends and family held all the same views and ideas as me...

Here Here for your Post!


MaryC said...

Ooo! I forgot to tell you I gave you a blogger award. It's on my blog, but you already know that,huh.

Gina said...

Your response overfloweth with eloquence and grace. I believe that there is a general tendency, in these uncertain times, to lash out and direct anger where it is unwarranted. People are confused and reeling. I'm so happy to know (really know) the answers truly are there and that we can have faith in our Savior and the courage of our conviction. I agree with you about the differences in others and how they enrich our lives. At the end of the day though, I need to come home to my like minded brothers and sisters in Christ. How sweet is the fellowship of those who walk with Him. People get feisty when it comes to politics and religion -- to say the least. But it's sad when people aren't bold enough to leave a way to open up a dialog. It seems like there is a lack of conviction or maybe even some embarrassment, hence the anonymous comment.

~Stephanie~ said...

I don't know what to say.... but AMEN! :)

I just came across your blog - by way of the My creative cafe give away comments :)

I just wanted to say how impressed I am at the way you can put into words your thoughts and feelings!
If only everyone could be that clear on what they mean - maybe there would be alot less tension all around us. I am not religious in ANY way... but I am open to what other people think and feel and am willing to matter what their "views (political, religious or anything else)" are. Thanks for your post!!

Okay off to peruse the rest of your blog! Have a great day!

Samantha said...

Well said, my friend. You amaze me once more with your grace and eloquence. I continue to be staggered and saddened at the narrow glasses the so called tolerant among us choose to view the world through.

I strongly believe the biggest threat to America isn't a politician or a set of political beliefs, a religion or any region of God's creation - it is our new inability to enjoy a polite discourse and to truly hear what others are saying.

Which is why I generally stay as far away from political discussion as possible =)

Sarabeth Hudson said...

Well said!