Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I am watching rage and fear and extremism.  There are people declaring that this is the beginning of the end.  And there are people declaring that this is the gateway into a world that has, up until now, only been a whisper, a promise.   I am watching fear at war with hope, and love at war with hate.  I am, for the record, seeing this on both sides of the rainbow flags.

As for me, I feel a wee bit like Rodney King.  Amidst the riots that unfair treatment brought out, he uttered this plea: it was as pathetic as it was sincere.  “Can’t we all just get along?”

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I am not a moderate on the issue of marriage equality.  But right now, I am not much interested in expressing my opinion, and I am pretty sure that you have thought about the issue quite a bit, too.  I don’t think I want to disrespect you, and the reflection you have done on the issue by presuming that a couple hundred words from me is going to sway you on the issue.

I am, instead, in this space of wanting to patiently, peacefully observe things.  I am finding some interesting, powerful things in approaching things like a hippie-engineer.  Rather than trying to transcend emotions, I am trying to embrace feelings.  I am not trying to set myself above stuff by being robotically, spock-like, rational.  I am working hard, instead, at entering fully into places and resisting the urge to be swallowed up by these things.

And, so, there are these things that I am noticing.

I am noticing that there is a terrible and dark place a person can be.  This terrible and dark place is reached by way of a disconnect.  The disconnect is between something we know to be true in our very deepest places and something that is declared to be true by society at large.

A person who “knows” that they are attracted to people of the same gender, but who lives in a world where she can’t declare this attraction, knows this disconnect.   A person who “knows” that marriage is meant to be between a man and a women, but who lives in a world where the Supreme Court has declared that marriages can be between a man and a man, or a woman or a woman, knows this disconnect.   A person who “knows” there are behavioral connections to baring the ‘xy’ chromosome pair vs. the ‘xx’ chromosome pair and faces somehow who acts in a manner oppposing this, they know this disconnect.   A person who hears society tells them that they supposed to act like a ‘man’ but who feels like a women, knows this disconnect.

We have so much in common. Do you feel it?  Are you willing to let those who you want to be ‘the other’ into your personal space?   Perhaps, as we wrestle with the common ground we share, this feeling of disconnect, we want to say, “Yes, but, they aren’t the same as me.”

We want to do lots of things that aren’t good for us.

There will be time to debate our differences.  At some point, that will be a worthwhile thing to do.  But we will not accomplish much until we have gathered together and affirmed our samenesses.  They are much more important than our differences.  The person we fear and hate the most is the person we have the most to learn from.  But that’s not going to happen until we listen up and decide that we will, indeed, just all get along.

My thanks to some bizzaro world ne’er do gooding remnants for helping to crystalize these thoughts.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

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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