Thanks to Ms. Kitty and ChaliceChick–you both challenged me to get out of my funk about this particular exchange and raise my head to meet it. And CC, I think you hit the nail on the head when you suggested we look at the shades of gray. I think this is exactly where the rubber hits the road in our congregation (denomination?): we draw some people who are more comfortable in black and white, as well as those who can live in the gray. I’ll paint myself as someone who can embrace feeling two conflicting feelings at the very same time and still feel that that is normal (i.e., live with teenage girls for a while, especially those to whom you have given birth, and feel two opposite emotions do battle in your heart on any given day, but I digress…).
But, no matter where you go, there are people who want things to be either right or wrong (the war, talk about the war from the pulpit, sugar-free coffee hour), and these people must interact with people who are able to not only see but celebrate that some things can be both at the very same time–right and wrong.
I have no issues with Afghanistan, other than that whatever we did hasn’t allowed for sustainable change (ie, Taliban insurgency is on the rise and women are starting to lose those gains they have made)…yet I maintain hope for those women, those girls. While I would like to say that I am a totally anti-war, convicted that it is wrong in any instance, I know I can’t say that. I still like the speak softly and carry a big stick approach. We’ve lost the ability (willingness?) to speak softly and with meaning in this country, and, now I fear we’ve also lost the ear of the world to do so. But none of this is really what troubled me about the conversation I walked into the middle of.
What troubled me was the clear line drawn by some about what is politics and what is religion and their pronouncement that what had occurred was wrong and should not have been done. Some people even voiced concern about losing our not-for-profit/tax-exempt/church status. And someone even said something along the lines of “we could really put off our big donors if we keep this up. We can’t afford to lose them.”
I forgot to mention that gem in my last post.
We are polarized, we UUs, we human beings. At any given moment, chances are we will be in a room with people who hold exactly opposite opinions (be it politics, religion or sugar-free coffee hour). And here, finally, here I get it–totally and completely get it (did you hear the otherworldly music just then?). That’s what living together in a religious way means–not that we all migrate to a place in the middle of watered-down consensus, but that we speak our own truths while leaving room for the other and opposite truths to be spoken and heard, too. This is what we come into community to do, right? To learn to live in a place where we all don’t agree but we don’t have to be disagreeable.
And so, this is why I felt ‘yicky.’ I wasn’t very agreeable in my disagreement with the conversation into which I walked in the middle. (Many grammatical problems with that sentence, but that’s a lesson for another day.) So, I’m working on it. Working on it. It’s the best I can do, best I can be right now, to be aware and to remember to speak softly and leave room for others to do the same. Even (especially?) when I think they are wrong.