Fight Scene Example 4
Fight Scene Example 4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, there’s this conflict.  It has been significantly impacting me for some time.  Yet I did not know the real nature of these problems until recently.

It puts me at odds with someone who has always been quite dear to me.

I wish I was at liberty to express the details.  I think maybe I can make the points I want to make today with out divulging details, though.  Suffice to say I’m not talking about irrelevant abstractions.  This is not a conflict about politics or gun control or something.  It’s about the way I will live the rest of my life, and about the way this person will live their life, and about how our lives will intersect in the future.  If this person has their way, our relationship will not continue the way it has always been.

After meandering through Denial, taking a bike ride through Anger, and jumping on a freeway that drove through Bargaining, I found myself in the itty-bitty township of Acceptance.  Unfortunately, all the sidewalks in Acceptance are moving sidewalks, seeking to send me back out to those other places.  (Ouch!  If that metaphor had been any more tortured I would have violated the Geneva Convention.)

My generally temporary times in Acceptance brought with it an interesting realization:  it’s a lot more difficult to fight for something from acceptance.

This is partially to be expected.  The very definition of acceptance is that you’re not fighting the inevitable anymore.

But it’s entirely right.  Accepting that a situation is what is does not imply that I should not fight for something better.

What I found was that it was easier to do combat against this person, who is very dear to me, when I was not understanding where they were coming from.  When I got where they are coming from, it becomes different.

We’re told that we’re not supposed to fight directly against people: our real war is against powers and principalities.

While I am in the land of Acceptance, it is more difficult, though.  It is more clear that I am fighting powers and principalities.  If I’m not careful I can give up on the person I’d once focused on, forgot that they are just a pawn of something which I should be fighting, something I am called to fight.

I know that there are all these theories about a just war.   I’m starting to think that if we really fought the way Jesus calls us to, our fighting would not look anything at all like it does here, in this world.  It seems unimaginably difficult, as difficult as me changing gears, and locking myself in combat not with the person who I am disagreeing with, but with their reasons for this disagreement.   Being in combat with the forces that are so linked, and treating this person themselves with love, grace, and mercy… it makes my brain hurt.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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