Don’t know about you but the drama south of the border is certainly confounding, disturbing, alarming, disappointing, and exhausting. There are not enough fingers to point accusingly or voices to condemn, or rocks to throw in judgement.
But if we stop and reflect, there’s a dirty little crop of secrets buried in them there hills. What I find alarming is over there has spread it’s seeds like a summer dandelion all the way over here – or did our seeds float over there first? No matter. Dirty little crops of secrets are more deeply embedded worldwide than the Corona Virus and a vaccine is nowhere to be found on earth.
What on earth am I talking about?
I’m talking about the vast gap between what we think and what we actually say. About political correctness that intimidates our mutual commitment to discovering truth. About fear of retribution striking us dumb, silent, compliant and avoiding responsibility. About an unwillingness to listen, to hear, to consider, to learn, to grow and to change. About an arrogance or stubborn pride that will not admit to being wrong, or misunderstanding, or being threatened, or not knowing. About refusing to consider another point of view without reacting, vilifying, and name calling.
“Not me!” I protest, affirm, insist.
Really? Consider how us is them on so many fronts.
When we say one thing but actually think or mean something else.
How many times do we choose to remain silent rather than express an opinion?
Why do we believe things heard or received from a third party that we refuse to explore by asking questions at the source? Particularly when involving someone we know?
Why can’t we agree to differ without being enemies? Why can’t we discuss why we believe things or hold points of view without name-calling or labeling?
Why is the only solution to have everyone goosestep into line with what we believe in order for them to be respected by us? Why is it all or nothing?
Why is it so hard for us to say what we think and believe on any given matter? And why can’t we add “at this time” to indicate that with new information we are open to change and learn?
Why is it so hard to ask questions to deepen our understanding and hear another point of view? We may still agree to disagree but we are certainly more likely to know why. Insight into another facilitates understanding, empathy and respect. But it takes time and effort, a closed mouth, an open mind, a listening ear, a thoughtful mind, and a secure identity.
This is all about tolerance, understanding, humility and respect.
Christians are meant to lead the way in these matters but sadly ‘we are also them’. How can we lose the plot so completely?
When personal belief is regarded as separate from business or politics and a private matter we have reduced Jesus to an optional idol devoid of authority, power and relevance. Consider his teaching for his disciples to be salt and light for instance.
When we insist on imposing Christianity on the world we have lost the spirit and essence of Jesus’ mandate to his disciples to ‘love others as I have loved you’, to serve, to lay down life, to be in the world but not of the world. Christianity grows through attraction not imposition, legislation, or intimidation.
When we have reduced Christianity down to issues and dogma. That approach is like imposing the Ten Commandments on everyone universally. It’s not called for, is not appropriate, and is not fair. Why? Because when Jesus gives commands or directives he also empowers. “Apart from me you can do nothing,” he says. It stands to reason that unless one has established a relationship with Jesus there is no hope of following his teaching. It works from the inside out, and even then it’s a lifelong journey of stumbles and steps.
What’s the take away?
We can do better.
The world is starving for respectful and dignified authenticity. Which means speaking truth as I understand it for now. Being gracious in the sharing with a willingness to learn and perhaps even change.
We are collectively emaciated, because it’s been so long since we’ve tasted the bread of discourse baked in an atmosphere of respect and mutual acceptance. We don’t have to win every argument or agree on everything. But we could do better letting one another know what we do in fact think and we could do better at listening, asking questions, and remaining friends anyway.
So while we look down south with all manner of response we may do well to look into the mirror and reflect. And then perhaps:
Ask more questions because curious
Listen longer because interested
Share what you think, let yourself out and others in
Don’t label, name-call, generalize, or stigmatize
Feelings aren’t facts, rumour isn’t reliable, personal conviction does not equal universal truth
Others aren’t enemies… other faiths, other politics, other parties, other genders, other people
My freedom will eventually bump into another’s freedom, what then?
Dirty little secrets hide behind fear, politeness, correctness, intimidation… and grow into monster conspiracies – maybe
Begin every ‘daring disclosure’ with: “This is what I think, and of course I may be wrong…..” How hard is that?
Methinks we can all do better. We can all decide to have less dirty little secrets (we call it personal and private), be bolder by being more transparent, and be humbler by rejoicing in the fact that we don’t know it all, we hardly have our act together, and there but for the grace of God……
Have fun being you, warts and all. And allow others to be the same……