Speaking my Peace

Carla: I am pretty sure this election has given me an ulcer. I had hoped it would go away now that it’s over, but that’s not to be I guess. I was talking with my husband tonight, trying to figure out why I am so worked up over the comments and conversations I’ve been wading through over the past few weeks and here’s what I’ve come up with:

I am a woman who, until very recently, didn’t really have a sense of my own voice. I have worked in Christian publishing for 13 years and for most of those, I have felt it necessary to keep many of my opinions to myself. I have not talked about my political views or my theology or my thoughts on homosexuality or abortion or any of the other hot buttons of Christian conversation because the views I hold are typically minority views in the Christian circles in which I operate. And because I am a good Scandinavian who does not like conflict one little bit, I’ve found it much easier to sit in silence while those around me make assumptions about what all Christians think and feel and believe. I have let my feisty side come out in motherhood conversations because I truly believe that women are suffering because of the false, unbiblical messages the church had laid on them for so many years. So while I’ve been willing to take some hits to bring down the monolith of bad parenting philosophy, I haven’t been willing to have endless–and pointless–conversations about other issues that I know will end badly and solve absolutely nothing.

But I have felt a bit braver lately and been testing the waters a bit more in the hopes of being more truly myself in the world. I have started laying some of my opinions out there to see what happens. And let me just say that with a very few exceptions, it has not gone well.

This is where my ulcer is coming from. I want to be able to talk to my brothers and sisters in Christ about politics. I want to be able to be honest about what I think about cultural issues and not have my faith questioned because of it. I want to hear what other people think and then have them listen to what I think (one friend did this very well–you know who you are, Kim). I want people to assume that I am intelligent and thoughtful and have good reasons for my beliefs and that just because we disagree, it doesn’t mean one of us is an idiot.

The other day my neighbor was telling me about a mom’s ministry she’d been going to. She said she’s struggling to build friendships because the women she’s met all assume every Christian shares their political beliefs and she’s worried that if she is honest about her positions, they will either argue with her or flat-out reject her. So she stays quiet and knows she will have to be careful about when and how she lets down her guard. That’s so sad to me.

We want to create a conversation where there are no assumptions about what we believe or don’t believe. Where every woman knows she is free to be who she is and that she won’t meet with derision or distain. Where differences are seen as a chance for us to learn from each other. Where we start from the belief that we all want the same thing–happy children, healthy relationships, lives that count for something, a better world–and that the details of how we get there are not really the point. We want our voices to be heard. We want your voices to be heard. But we will not shout each other down in our efforts to be heard. I’m not really talking about politics here, I’m talking about everything–from elections to homeschooling to marriage to money to why Target is so far superior to Wal-Mart. We can disagree, but please please please, let’s disagree with an eye toward true conversation, not a need to convince each other of anything. This, perhaps more than anything else, is what the Revolution is meant to accomplish.

One of the many things I love about Caryn is her acceptance of me. Honestly, we could not be more different on so many of the issues that have come up in this election. But we haven’t had one ill word between us during the whole thing. We have talked about the places we differ. We have even joked about them. But I know Caryn is a smart woman who has clear, well-thought-out reasons for why she feels the way she does. And I know she believes the same about me. That’s what we want the Mommy Revolution to be about: Women who recognize that there is so much more to do with our time than argue and try to prove ourselves right.

Caryn: Let me just start that I can’t believe you’ve ever even had to DEBATE that Target is superior to Wal-Mart! You don’t need people who think otherwise in your life, Carla. They are brazen fools. Life’s too short. That said, my babysitter DID have a cute pair of shoes on today. When I asked her where she got them, she did say the big W-M. So I may be running there later this week and forking out $9.88 for those cuties.

But anyway, it’s interesting you write this today. Up until my unfortunate unfriending on Facebook due to my political views, I actually didn’t realize how ugly things had become. Maybe I’m dense, but I ‘ve always thought it was FUN and INTERESTING to have friends who disagreed with me politically, philosophically, or spiritually. I like hearing people’s views—and poking and teasing where I think they’re nuts—because it sharpens and stretches me. It didn’t occur to me that some people would actually HATE me because of my beliefs (for my beauty, sure…). And yet, they do.

I think Facebook—as much as I love it—has heightened this for all of us. We’ve all made ourselves vulnerable to “attacks” by speaking up and out. And we’ve made ourselves vulnerable to hurt when we see what others write, what groups we join, what articles we post and videos we mock.

But I think it will get better—and will work toward the good. Because like you, I never really promoted my own political views in a desire to be liked. But I also made a lot of assumptions running in the world we do that are way off base. (Note to Wheaton College: What in God’s good name are you teaching over there that you’re turning out Liberals left and right?!?!? Whatever it is, stop it. Or for crying out loud, let those kids drink–so they don’t rebel in their voting!) And I think it’s cool that we have anything going that shoots down assumptions and lets us see the “real” in each other—even if we don’t agree with it.

All this to say, Carla, you keep on being yourself. And keep on sharing your views and your thoughts—no matter how tomfoolery-icious they are. I think you’re fab even when we disagree. I actually LOVE that we disagree. It keeps things fun—and it keeps me on my toes. In fact, today I DON’T have an ulcer because we have a president I know YOU helped elect. And I think, if Carla likes him, he can’t be that bad. (And if he is THAT bad, I’ll have so much fun blaming you!) 

So—everybody, lay off Carla! 

Carla: And Caryn too! I’m concerned that this post comes off as whiney and thin-skinned. And maybe I do feel a little beat up from the last few weeks. But my intention is to say that I long for a place where we can talk about our lives with openness and honesty and not worry that we’re going to be blasted for not holding the same views as others, especially by other Christians. I want this to be that place.

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39 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ryan on November 6, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    My friend Adam likes to tout a theory (proposed by John Gabriel of internet-comic site Penny Arcade) that goes something like this:

    Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total [Jerk]wad

    Ok, so the language isn’t so nice, but the point remains: people will be mean on the internet because they don’t after to answer directly for their actions. While Facebook isn’t exactly anonymous, I have seen it bring out sides that I never knew some of my closest friends had. Sometimes I’m convinced that they post and say things just to get a rise (or at least a reaction) out of me.

    It’s crazy, really. I’ve witnessed–and, admitedly, been involved in–interactions that could never happen without the safeties of time and distance (which, hey, happen to be two pretty important dimensions of existence, but that’s another discussion). The internet, for all its majesty, can bring out the worst in people, and it’s almost certainly most true in the case of debates regarding politics, religion, and the like.

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  2. Nice work, friends. Amen.

    When I mentioned in a CT movies newsletter a few weeks ago that I hadn’t yet made up my mind who I was voting for, you wouldn’t believe the vitriolic hate mail that flooded into my inbox. I was a communist bastard. I was a baby killer. I was associating with terrorists. I couldn’t POSSIBLY be a Christian. I was destined for hell. … And so on. Made me almost ashamed to be a Christian — at least certainly ashamed of these people who call themselves Christians. There was no love, no desire to discuss, only hatred and anger. It was unbelievable, and eye-opening. I can’t blame people for wanting to keep their political views to themselves, because it’s dangerous to make them known — and, ironically, most dangerous among fellow Christians, who can be the most mean-spirited people on the planet when it comes to these things. They’ll know we are Christians by our love? Hmm, not if you’re looking at my inbox every day. Yowza. So, kudos to Caryn and Carla, both of whom I consider friends and both of whom I highly respect, for setting a fine example of how we can lovingly disagree. You go, girls.

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  3. It’s been interesting to see that my Facebook friends have pretty much paralleled national polling and voting. Some pretty partisan positions on both sides. I was tempted to de-friend someone yesterday because of a snarky Facebook status.

    And I go with Target. All the way. (I grew up in Minnesota, so I remember when Target was pretty much just a local chain.)

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  4. Posted by Ron on November 6, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Okay, you two realize that you’ve hit my hot button. If I get too revved up, just stop reading.

    Carla’s and Caryn’s experiences in this area (being de-friended, being shouted down, being called apostate or whatever) help explain why a generation is largely missing from the church, and why so many Christians long ago stopped referring to themselves as “evangelicals”.

    Here are a few reasons why so many evangelicals are angry about political issues and the 2008 presidential election:
    a) They don’t get out enough. I just read that 23% of Texans believe Obama is a Muslim. If they’d mingle a little more with folks who don’t hold all the same views they hold, they would develop a broader view of people and the world.
    b) They are convinced that if they listen to Rush every day, they’ve had their quiet time. Too many evangelicals confuse shrill politics with the voice of God.
    c) It’s more convenient and less time-consuming to vote on the basis of two issues: hating taxes and hating abortion. It takes more time and effort to weigh a broad cross-section of issues when you’re deciding how to vote.
    d) It’s also simpler if you narrow “life issues” to one issue, rather than to consider war, capital punishment, poverty, lack of access to healthcare, diminishing wages, lack of educational opportunity for all, etc. as also being legitimate “life issues.”
    e) They don’t realize that Jesus was a socialist and that he endorsed, yea required, the paying of taxes.
    f) We’re talking primarily here about white evangelicals. Latinos and African-Americans, including Christians in those groups, voted largely for Obama.
    g) People shouting you down (Carla) when you express a political view that differs from the evangelical party line props up the shouter’s self-perception of being more righteous than thou. They have confused political values with holy writ.

    PS: What I love about Libertarians is that they’re waaay closer to being a Democrat than W is close to being a true conservative Republican.

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  5. It’s so nice to have male participation in the Mommy Revolution! Great comments, fellas. Ron: you’re totally right about W not being a true conservative. He’s an awful big spender, which drove me nuts. Then came the bailout business and I just about lost it.

    But I’m not actually so sure Jesus was a socialist. I don’t remember him talking about government needing to control the major industries, and I don’t think he spent his time lecturing the governing bodies on ways to care for the poor and redistribute the wealth. He told INDIVIDUALS to do it. And he did encourage paying taxes (which we need to do) but he said in the next breath to give to God too. Sometimes, I think we confuse taxes with giving to God. They’re two different things, done for two different purposes, I think (which is why I’m a libertarian!).

    THAT SAID, we need Christians need to unite in our view that the poor need to be fed, clothed, tended to, cared for, loved, and that the downtrodden need to be lifted up. The way it’s best done, I think, is what’s up for nice, friendly debate.

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  6. Carla, you and I must be twins separated at birth. I also have a hard time talking about my beliefs w/other Christians and hate the conflict that is involved with that. But like you, I’m starting to talk more anyway. It seems like there are so many Christians who don’t want to really think about things, and who believe all sorts of lies and propaganda. It’s hard to talk to people who are unwilling to think for themselves or attempt to find out the truth. I feel like mainly it’s the crazy people out there who are talking the loudest (like Rush Limbaugh and Shawn Hannity listeners), and those of us who are more reasonable — whatever our political bent — are keeping too quiet. People who aren’t Christians have a pretty skewed view of what Christians are like, because of all the loud crazy people!

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  7. Posted by Rachel on November 7, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Amen! Carla, thank you so much for this. This is very much on topic for me.

    Last night, God gave me a gift I didn’t expect.

    After more than 35 years practically bathed in Christian teaching, I learned something new and affirming at church last night. And I learned it from a woman–a woman who is a respected pastor and theologian and who has an incredible capacity to be authentic and transparent. Now, given the fact that I was genuinely confused for a long time regarding how a woman could in any way be useful to God, the fact that I have a female theologian in my age group to learn with is itself a gift. But, there’s more.

    To my great surprise, I discovered that one of my beliefs about salvation—which I have most definitely been keeping on the down low in certain circles—is actually a belief shared by many other Christians. It is even considered a reasonable and faith-filled perspective by some well-respected theologians—theologians who have thought about this subject and evaluated it and wrestled with it A LOT—and have come to the same resting place as me.

    The reason I have been keeping all of this on the down-low is that what I learned about the Christian faith in my formative years would have defined this way of thinking as—at a minimum, loosey-goosey (not a good thing as one must always know the right answer) and at its most extreme—verging on heretical (I’m just trying to change the Word of God to suit my own purposes, after all).

    But this belief has come to feel very right and true to me after much struggle. And I don’t feel any guilt or concern about it. In fact, this belief has enabled me to stay within the Christian faith while becoming more and more authentically the person God intended me to be. Best of all, I no longer feel like it’s up to me to determine the eternal destiny of every person in the world throughout history. I can rest.

    The other day, my 11-year old son, who has been very interested in the election process and vocally pro-Obama, came into the room and said, “Did you know that Obama is for abortion?” He was repeating something someone I love dearly had told him. I’d like to point out that almost certainly my son was not repeating it exactly the way it was said or was intended to be understood. And my son had brought up the topic. So, I am not blaming this person (with whom by the way, I discuss all kinds of personal topics but have studiously avoided discussing politics.)

    I immediately became angry. I replied, “Where did you hear that? No one is FOR abortion,” and went on to try to explain the nuances of legal rights vs. moral decisions. My defensive response came from a deep place of insecurity, a past of feeling voiceless and “less than” in the definitive Christian culture in which I grew up.

    I know from experience that if I tell some people I voted Democrat—even people who know me and love me—they will make an assumption that I am ok with abortion, perhaps that I even advocate for it. This makes me crazy. It makes me sad. I feel that if I try to explain myself, it will be misinterpreted. I dislike conflict and I’m afraid of being found lacking, so I remain silent.

    But I don’t want to hide. I want to connect. I want to listen. I want to consider another point of view. But in order to do this, I feel like a safe space must be created, which does not currently exist. I need to know that my faith and my personhood will be lovingly given the benefit of the doubt, so to speak.

    On an even broader scale, the fact that Christians utilize where one stands on one particular issue as a means to judge whether that person is inside or outside of the fold is incredibly counterproductive. This is significantly limiting our capacity to fulfill what Christ called us to do and be.

    It’s not that I don’t think a particular issue is important. It’s just that I feel that there are many equally important issues about which we as Christians have to make difficult decisions. The good news is that if we aren’t all called to be the mouthpieces for the same issue, we can be an orchestra rather than one instrument. It’s one of the reasons God conceived us as one body, yet different parts. It’s why God created us with unique passions and callings. Simply put, we can cover more ground if we spread out.

    OK…so back to the gift I got last night: Some reassurance and a safe place to question. A reminder that God is big and can handle our wrestling and wondering.

    Guess what? They even have a name for what I believe about salvation. And it’s not actually subversive! It’s called Mystery/Optimism (I love how poetic that name is…thanks, God, for that added bonus). The essence of it is that I’m banking on the character of God to do the right and compassionate thing and to get it all straightened out.

    But for all of you personal responsibility advocates, don’t worry: I’m definitely still up for doing my part. I’m just not trying to do God’s anymore.

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  8. Posted by Heather on November 7, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Rachel – your closing statement hit home for me. Thank you.

    “I’m definitely still up for doing my part. I’m just not trying to do God’s anymore.”

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  9. Rachel–Great comments! I think some viewing Democrats as pro-abortion is the same as viewing all Republicans as greedy jerks who don’t care about the poor (and admit it—this IS the view, right?). The problem is when we view people as stereotypes—caricatures, really—and not as them as individual people.

    I was reminded a couple weeks ago that as Christians we don’t “wrestle flesh and blood but principalities of the dark” (and here I’m quoting a Brooklyn Tab. Choir song, not actual Scripture because I can remember the song, not the verse!). I think we tend to forget that—and start going after particular people.

    Also, God gives each of us particular passions that fire us up more than others—and that will be reflected in the way we vote.

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  10. Posted by Tina on November 7, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Funny, I have found the same to be true, but in the opposite sense. (sounds along the lines of what Caryn experienced via facebook, although not knowing the details cannot say for sure) That said, I have found literal hatred if I voice a thought, idea, concern, albeit a “completely off the radar” viewpoint differing from my left Christian friends and family. I have been made to feel the fool on my ignorance of such progressive thought. An almost an “aghast” at my obvious ignorance of all things thoughtful and smart. People throw this Christian label around like it is fluid. Call me crazy, but seems to me it is not up to debate. Now not knowing people’s heart’s that is, and not for me to even “go there.” I dunno, seems to me a lot of decision making in regards to voting within this past election was based on hate and/or a saviour like attitude towards ONE MAN. Again, I dunno, call me crazy, but I thought that my identity was just in Christ and all that HE IS. And maybe all those judger’s out there missed the memo on loving our neighbor’s as ourselves? Seems to me if that was followed, all of this unneccessay silencing, feeling inadequate and sheer fear to be all that one was called to be IN CHRIST would not even be up for discussion! And for the record, Carla, I have known you many year’s, and your voice, as I recall, was heard and was progressive, and you always have stood for things that many did not! (yep, it’s that tina (kolstad) ) By the way, all of those political campaigns that I made calls for growing up with you, was it the right or the left? I got’s to know, my conservative heart cannot take it! Hehe…Keep up the GREAT dialogue!

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  11. Posted by Carla on November 7, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    My dear Tina,

    I’m pretty sure we were helping the conservatives gain a foothold in central Minnesota. But we balanced it out by ushering at every weird concert and theater event that came through town.

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  12. Caryn and Carla, continued thanks for this blog and the discussion it facilitates. We definitely need it.

    My viewpoint seems to resemble Caryn’s and Tina’s, and I, like them, have found myself disparaged by the majority of my wide-circle friends and some Christian friends for my conservatives views… As judgemental, narrow, mean-spirited, even ill-informed or just stupid. So it seems that all of us are feeling misunderstood to some degree.

    The thing that puzzles me most is Christians’ support of Obama given his very radical views, particularly on abortion. I do understand that politically liberal Christians feel boxed in by traditional Christian priorities and that they feel that Christians have (wrongly) had a one-issue perspective with that issue being abortion. I do see that many important issues must be distilled into a single, basically binary choice (R or D), that this must necessarily be complex, and that reasonable people with a shared faith would not weigh all of the factors equally and come to the same result.

    The radicalism of Obama in the abortion realm, however, cannot be overstated. In moving away from a ‘one-issue’ mindset, Obama-supporting Christians haven’t addressed Obama’s anti-life policies in any way that makes sense to me.

    Princeton University professor Robert George has, in my view, best laid out the facts on this. He writes:

    “Barack Obama’s views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket…

    Let us assume that there could be a morally meaningful distinction between being “pro-abortion” and being “pro-choice.” Who would qualify for the latter description? Barack Obama certainly would not. For, unlike his running mate Joe Biden, Obama does not think that abortion is a purely private choice that public authority should refrain from getting involved in. Senator Biden believes that the killing of the unborn should be legally permitted and relatively unencumbered. But unlike Obama, at least Biden has sometimes opposed using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion, thereby leaving Americans free to choose not to implicate themselves in it. If we created a meaningful category called “pro-choice,” then Biden might be a plausible candidate for the label; at least on occasions when he respects your choice or mine not to facilitate deliberate feticide.

    The same cannot be said for Barack Obama. For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest…

    But this barely scratches the surface of Obama’s extremism. He has promised that “the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed “fundamental right” to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, “a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined ‘health’ reasons.” In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would “sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.”

    It gets worse. Obama, unlike even many “pro-choice” legislators, opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature and condemned the Supreme Court decision that upheld legislation banning this heinous practice. He has referred to a baby conceived inadvertently by a young woman as a “punishment” that she should not endure. He has stated that women’s equality requires access to abortion on demand. Appallingly, he wishes to strip federal funding from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers that provide alternatives to abortion for pregnant women in need. There is certainly nothing “pro-choice” about that.”

    (http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/viewarticle.php?selectedarticle=2008.10.14_George_Robert_Obama's%20Abortion%20Extremism_.xml)

    So Rachel, your statement above confuses me:
    “The other day, my 11-year old son, who has been very interested in the election process and vocally pro-Obama, came into the room and said, “Did you know that Obama is for abortion?” …. I immediately became angry. I replied, “Where did you hear that? No one is FOR abortion,” and went on to try to explain the nuances of legal rights vs. moral decisions.”

    Obama has expressed his intent to expand access to abortion and use taxpayer dollars to fund abortions in a way that no one else has. He is plainly for pro-abortion policy. While he may not personally like abortion, his policies are designed to make abortion easier, with the result that many more unborn babies will die. This is not something that I think Christians can look away from, or explain away.

    I am not a single-issue voter. (I didn’t oppose Obama solely because of his views on abortion. I also don’t favor his big-government mindset and his global universalism tendencies, for example.) But to me it seems that many Christians, in aversion to a ‘one-issue’ mindset and a sense that Christian politics have been too pigeon-holed, are moving the other direction to a point where they are, pun intended, “throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

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  13. Posted by Carla on November 7, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    For me, real dialog can only happen when we avoid words that set the other side up, that assume objective truth instead of subjective opinion. I find “radical” to be one of those words. I don’t consider Obama’s views radical. If I did, I wouldn’t have voted for him. His views are not objectively radical–they are labeled as such based on the views of the person assessing them. The word “radical” is one of those incendiary words that can hurl a conversation into damaging territory very quickly. I know that’s not Susan’s intent and I deeply appreciate the thoughtfulness of her comments.

    But for someone on the liberal side, like me, that word does to me what “ill-informed” or “narrow-minded” does to Susan and Tina. It raises my hackles a bit and lets me know a conversation is not likely to do much good. It tells me that the person using it has already made up his or her mind about me and my views and that the judgment is not positive.

    Caryn and I might do a post on abortion–we have to gear up for it as you can imagine since we know it will be a tough one–so I won’t go into great detail here about why a Christian like me can support Obama (who I don’t consider “anti-life.”) But I can tell you that it’s been in conversations about abortion that I have been on the receiving end of the most hateful, un-Christ-like name calling you can imagine. Not only does that hurt those conversations, it does nothing to help us get closer to dealing with the issue itself.

    Because of that, I am veeeeerrrrryyyy hesitant to have that conversation in this format, but I also feel like this has the potential to be the place we can have that conversation and show the world (or at least the people who read this blog) that respectful, useful conversations can happen when Christians agree to give each other the benefit of the doubt in the name of Jesus.

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  14. There was a time in my life when I believed there was such a thing as “objective truth.” It doesn’t really matter that I located that “truth” in the Christian faith, what mattered at the time was that I had a way to “judge” all things. However, it’s no different for people who have a different source from which they derive their “objective truth.” When they use their particular yardstick to judge things by, the way they see the world and what is good and right comes from the way their “source of truth” is being interpreted today, in time and space.

    What seems to be a problem is that ALL OF US seem so completely unaware of how our understanding/interpretation of “name your source of truth” (like the Bible) is a reflection of our current culture and time in history. We argue and push, bemoan and criticize other opinions because “its so obvious that you’re opinion isn’t Biblical.” We assume that any rational person would/should have the same opinion as us… We often don’t realize how our understanding of the faith has been as influenced by recent (your pick…market capitalism, limited government, socialism, etc.) economic/political theories as by anything we might call the Spirit of God.

    Can’t we just imagine that our understanding of the Christian faith might be markedly different if we were…. born in the 3rd century? Sold into slavery to an American colony? Raised in an affluent white home in the post internet age?

    Unfortunately, we don’t often enter these conversations with the humility one would expect of people who are as imperfect as we are. “Even a fool is wise when he keeps his mouth shut,” so says a proverb. More often we engage in these conversations as if we have a lock on the correct interpretation for all times and all places on all kinds of issues, even issues inconceivable to the biblical authors.

    I don’t mean to be mean, but I predict that there will be a reply by someone here who feels quite certain that truth doesn’t change over time, that truth as we “know” it now has always been the same (and by no means affected by living in America). The need to feel safe, to feel that “truth” is stable will likely provoke someone to identify me as a “relativist.” It will help them feel less anxious, and reinforce for themselves that “yes I know the truth.”

    We all want that. I do too. But I feel comfortable that God doesn’t require me to know all things as a pre-requisite for relationship. I feel CERTAIN that the part of the story we’ve gotten right is that love for one another is THE definitive mark of the Spirit within us. I feel quite certain that the way we talk to one another about important issues ought to be done with humility because, we could be dead wrong. We could be the one who has missed the thrust of the spirit. So, Carla….speak up…..speak with conviction….and with humility…. and when people treat you or others badly in the process, I suppose our story requires us to forgive them their sin. Oh….and you too Caryn.

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  15. This whole convo is bringing up so many good things—particularly, the ideas of humility, the language we use (which Caryn the word girl finds particularly exciting), and the truth (what does Bono say about guitars and the truth…?).

    But a couple quick things about radicals and hackles raised, because I HAVE to get this off my still-nursing chest. IMHO, I think what IS “radical” about Obama was his vote in the Illinois State Legislature AGAINST the Infant Born Alive act or whatever it was called. He voted to allow babies who were born alive (despite an attempted abortion) to be left to die because it was the “intent of the mother” that they not live.

    This sort of vote gets right to the heart of why I distrust politicians and government and why I think we need to be careful when we talk about issues. Obama–to his TOTAL credit–promises to work to elevate the downtrodden, give healthcare to children who don’t have it, speak up for those who cannot speak… All that good stuff that Prov. 31: 8-9 (which has been a defining verse for my life) tell us to do. But I see that vote and go, WHERE was the voice for those post-abortive children who needed one, where was the healthcare for those children allowed to die, who is speaking for them….? Is it, perchance, because those babies don’t VOTE?

    Don’t get me wrong, this happens on both sides. TOTALLY! I think it goes to the point that we live in an imperfect world where “truth” is hard to come by. I do believe there is TRUTH, but we cannot grasp it here because we are so (WARNING: Calvinist doctrine approaching!) steeped in our brokenness.

    That’s where that whole humility and watching our words comes in. Because we can—all day long (and I’m praying my dear Rafi doesn’t get on here, because then we will)—point out where each side is flawed and wrong and evil and unjust, but “at the end of the day” (which is a 10 Top Most Annoying Phrase, according to Oxford linguists) only Jesus is Truth, and we won’t be governed by it until we’re all elected (no Calvinism pun intended) Senators or Dog Catchers or Presidents or Assessor or whatever in Heaven.

    So, until then, let’s just be kind and loving and not treat people who oppose us as stupid. Now, someone go ahead and tell me how evil conservatives are. : )

    Reply

  16. Posted by Susana on November 8, 2008 at 11:38 am

    This is a beautiful and thoughtful conversation we should be having. I sincerely do not want to sound mean or preachy, this is just some things I have learned along the way. I respect everyone in my life and have much love for all people. I know the struggles I have come from to be at this stage in my life of believing in a loving God who loves us all. Sometimes love isn’t given to you in an ice cream cone or a lollipop. Most times learning about love has to be taught to us by breaking us and breaking our own stubborn wills about many things we hold in our hearts and minds. If you can only learn from words that you do not find offensive, you are only doing yourself an injustice. You can pick out words that you do not like and dismiss what is being told to you. But then you are no better than the words you are having a problem with. Murder is radical. You can all “talk” this out until your fingers fall off. If you are claiming yourself to be a “Christian”, that means you must be walking and talking and acting like Christ.

    Jesus said that “the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the FULL.” (John 10:10) Where does abortion fit into that statement? How is aborting an innocent baby line up with that beautiful Word of God? Where does it say that the thief cannot be dressed well, look good, have eloquent speech, have the appropriate ethnic background, and seemingly plunge the world into euphoria over his being elected as president of the United States? Where does it say that? I do not see that there in His Word. Don’t forget that Jesus also said that the elect would also be deceived, if that is possible. So just be careful with compromising with the Word of God. That is all I am saying here.

    If you are fighting these concepts, you are really fighting God. As a Christian, we believe the Word is God-breathed. It becomes a downward spiral when you start making up the God that best fits your life-style, way of thinking, and your own flesh. You can continue to create your own Jesus in your own minds and lives, but then you cannot call yourselves a true follower of Jesus Christ. God is not a liar and He is not a compromiser. I am sorry to break this news to anyone who is trying to say a woman, who has already put herself into the compromising position to be carrying a new life, still has a choice to make with her body. She has made her choice. The new being she is carrying has a right to live also and someone must protect that at some level.

    Abortion is pure murder. There is nothing Christ-like about murder. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Christians cannot keep compromising on murder. It is not an issue for debate for those following the real Jesus Christ. Of course, you can argue with compromising medical issues involving the mother and baby, but that is not a point where the mother is actively seeking an abortion just for the sake of terminating a pregnancy. We also live in a world where the evils of rape and incest occur. We have to be prepared as a Christian body to help these evils and to overcome them with good. We have to believe Jesus, that life is good! The package may not be what you want or come the way you want it, but choices were made and things happened and a tiny, innocent life is now a reality. It is a long road, but if you are a Christian, helping others to choose life is the right road to be on.

    I think if you are still favoring the inclination that you possess all the control, that the woman should have control of her body, and have a right to do with her body that she wants….then I believe her control comes into play when she is deciding to give herself over to the flesh when she became pregnant. At that point, her choice is over and she is a different entity, carrying two lives in one, and that is a responsibility that should be taught to our children over and over again. If we stop, and start compromising on murder itself, our future generations will never know the true living God and His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus said He overcame this world and we can, too, because of our belief and faith in Him. He is the only One that can help a woman and her family with this issue, and as Christians, He is the light that we should be shining and directing these women towards. Stop over-thinking and over-analyzing this simple gift of life to us all. The path is not a good one when we start putting our own needs and our own flesh before God and the beauty of a life that is just beginning. Thank you for letting me be heard. ~shalom

    Reply

  17. I can see where a term like ‘radical’ is unhelpful in the way you describe, Carla, so I’ll try to avoid it. And I agree with the importance of humility and not using loaded terms. What I’m trying to do is describe the fact that, in terms of legislative policy surrounding access to abortion, Obama has clearly stated that he wants to widen access to abortion and reverse existing laws that limit it. He favors doing this more than virtually anyone else in the US Senate.

    The Freedom of Choice Act that Obama’s prioritizing in his early days in office will
    create a federally guaranteed ‘fundamental right.’ An FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion and abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion. As an IL state senator, he opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive. The federal version of the bill passed unanimously in the United States Senate, winning the support of such ardent advocates of legal abortion as John Kerry and Barbara Boxer. But Barack Obama opposed it and worked to defeat it. So his position doesn’t align with others who view abortion as an acceptable option in unwanted pregnancy… it is goes much further.

    Many who have supported Obama have said that his economic and social policies would so diminish the demand for abortion that the overall number would actually decrease. I know that many feel that traditional pro-lifers have largely ignored the economic factors that contribute to unwanted pregnancy. I’ve read the Catholics in Alliance: Reducing Abortion in America study. But I don’t see how these laws, combined with the Obama’s intention to federally subsidize of abortion and the eliminate hundreds of pro-life laws, will actually reduce abortion. Published studies, and even statistics by Planned Parenthood, show that existing pro-life laws and policies save thousands of babies’ lives every year.

    Even if it were true that Obama’s policies would ‘reduce the number of abortions each year,’ is that sufficient? Is that what advocates of sanctity of life should be going for? To me, this turns the abortion issue into something akin to a traffic management issue rather than addressing it as the evil that it is that we should be working to eliminate from society. Imagine if America had taken this stance in the slavery debate in the 19th century. (Carla, my guess is that the analogy to slavery is unappealing to you. Like all analogies, it’s imperfect. But it’s closer than any other analogy that I have seen… And I’ll leave it to your and Caryn’s forthcoming post on abortion to tell me more about this. I would like to see that, because I do feel this issue is at the heart of much political Christian misunderstanding.)

    In 1857 the Supreme Court held, in Dred Scott v Sandford, that blacks could never be citizens but were instead property, who could not be taken from their owners without due process. Imagine, in the wake of Dred Scot,t a politician making this argument: The Supreme Court will never overturn Dred Scott, so we need to focus our attention on alleviating the causes of slavery. We need to be empathetic to the conditions of slaveholders and adopt policies that will make it easier for them to stop holding slaves, thereby reducing the number of total slaves held by 95% in ten years. Slavery would still exist today, but just happen a great deal less…

    Reply

  18. Posted by Carla on November 8, 2008 at 11:59 am

    It won’t be me.

    Again, I think the abortion issue needs its own post, so I really don’t want to have a whole abortion debate here. But I do want to say something about this specific charge against Obama.

    In the case of the legislation Caryn mentioned, he said the reason he voted against it is that there was already a federal law in the works–if not already signed–covering infants born alive and that the one being proposed didn’t cover anything that wasn’t already covered in federal legislation. Here’s an article about the federal law, which passed before Obama was in the U.S. Senate: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/23/politics/23abort.html
    It’s important to note as well that there are very few recorded cases of a child being born alive and being denied medical care. To do so goes against the oath of all medical professionals. In some ways, it’s a law meant to ensure something that happens rarely continues to happen rarely or never.

    The other reason he gave for voting against the Illinois legislation has to do with this recommendation from the American Academy of Pedatrics: http://www.aap.org/nrp/instres/instres_born-alive.html

    My understanding from this piece–and the problem Obama alluded to in the debate in response to this issue–is that the law is not specific to abortion but rather could potentially require doctors to administer life-saving measures for infants who are simply born prematurely, even when there is no chance of the child surviving and even when the parents have asked for no extraordinary measures to be taken to keep their baby alive (essentially an infant DNR order). Obama wanted the language to be clear and he didn’t think it was so he voted against it. Neither did the AAP. They found it necessary to clarify what the law does and does not cover:

    “It is the opinion of the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) Steering Committee that the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2001 should not in any way affect the approach that physicians currently follow with respect to the extremely premature infant. Physicians should discuss treatment options with parents, preferably before the birth of the infant. Treatment plans should be based on currently available information and outcomes. Guidelines for developing such plans in collaboration with the parents have been published elsewhere.1–3 At the time of delivery, and regardless of the circumstances of the delivery, the medical condition and prognosis of the newly born infant should be assessed. At that point decisions about withholding or discontinuing medical treatment that is considered futile may be considered by the medical care providers in conjunction with the parents acting in the best interest of their child. Those newly born infants who are deemed appropriate to not resuscitate or to have medical support withdrawn should be treated with dignity and respect, and provided with ‘comfort care’ measures.”

    In other words, the doctors who delivered my friend’s extremely premature baby who was alive a birth but had a host of birth defects that led her to die within a few minutes should not be bound by law to keep that little girl alive–which the vague language of the federal law and Illinois proposal could have been interpreted as requiring him to do–but rather to provide her the care she needed to die peacefully.

    If Obama’s no vote on this bill is considered a radical stance on abortion, then the AAP has a radical stance as well.

    My point in saying all of that is that I think it’s important to assume that other people have good intentions. I believe that about both Obama and McCain. I don’t believe for a minute that Obama wants babies to die. I don’t believe McCain wants soldiers and civilians to die, even though he supported a war that I believe he should have opposed. It’s possible to give the other guy the benefit of the doubt even when we disagree with him.

    The problem is that rhetoric gets in the way. There is sooo much crap out there–from both sides–that’s it’s almost impossible to get any information that’s even remotely neutral (if there is such a thing). If we want to have honest, productive conversations with each other, we need to be willing to step back from the rhetoric and just talk to each other with love and respect and a willingness to learn from others.

    Reply

  19. I don’t believe Obama wants babies to die either—and I do understand some of the concerns from the medical community.

    (Though I can’t help but think of my friend’s son who was born at 24 weeks. She thanks God he was born during a visit home to the states. Had he been born in Holland—where they lived—he wouldn’t have lived. One, because of their “looser” views on life and because nationalized medicine doesn’t cover that….)

    ALL THIS TO SAY, we each have stories and “evidence” and propaganda to bolster our positions. I think we need to call for a Christian Abortion Summit—where we highlight the things we AGREE on and the ways we as a faith community can support women and children in relationship to this and how we can engage the public in a conversation that isn’t based in heat and accusations and name-calling, but instead in love and something close to Truth.

    Oh, and let’s have it in Hawaii. Now there’s a nice place….

    (Okay, Carla: While people are daydreaming about beaches and sun, let’s write something new. Quick!!!!)

    Reply

  20. Posted by Tina on November 8, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Sometimes, (well , let’s be clear here) most of the time (since this blog is all about authenticity for the sake of being able to be heard with humility and love) I think that TRUTH, isn’t or never has been a “just is.” (footnote here: this breaks my heart!) I have found a lacking of a core belief of “it doesn’t matter when I like it/don’t like”… it “just is”… kinda TRUTH. Seems to me TRUTH has become more of a what do “I” think about this or that. What makes “it” (truth) real/good/bad/ok/comfortable/cool/do-able when the mood hits me sorta deal. An almost “MY TRUTH” belief pattern dependant on “my” circumstances, knowledge, societal stands, generational upbringing etc. Instead of TRUTH being a “just is”…an “it is what it is” (another annoying phrase if I may add personally, but works somehow now) situation. Jesus stated that HE was the way, the TRUTH and the life. Again, call me crazy, but I just follow, without debate, without anything then that “child-like” faith to TRUTH. By the way, I have been looked upon as if I have “3 heads” for believing that Jonah was actually in the belly of the whale, or that the streets of gold actually are streets of gold in Revelation. (hey, at least I am still cool in my kid’s eye’s! hehe)

    Reply

  21. Posted by Carla on November 8, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Maybe it’s better to say “my understanding of truth” is what shifts, not truth itself–which I don’t think anyone can truly grasp. Because I know that my understanding of God is deeper and different now than it was 10 years ago and I hope it’s even deeper and richer 10 years from now. God isn’t different, but my experiences etc. have changed how I understand God. And I hope that in the next 10 years I have more experiences that change how I understand God so that I can keep growing closer to God.

    I hope that in 10 years I look back on things I believed in 2008 and can see that I was still looking through the glass darkly. I want my vision to keep getting clearer. If I think I have the right answers now, that my view of God and my understanding of what it means to live as a child of God is perfectly formed right now, then I’ve got a long, boring life ahead of me. I want to be different tomorrow than I am today and I can’t get there if I think I’ve got it all figured out right now.

    Reply

  22. Posted by Carla on November 8, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    And just for the record, I’ve been called a heretic for believing the above comment.

    Reply

  23. 1. Now I know what it’s like to be a republican. How have you tolerated 8 years of bashing? It sucks. I wish Obama had lost. I can’t take it anymore.

    2. This post was not about abortion. It was about the way in which we dialogue with one another. Is it possible to stay on topic?

    3. Susan made the following comment:
    “If you are fighting these concepts, you are really fighting God. As a Christian, we believe the Word is God-breathed. It becomes a downward spiral when you start making up the God that best fits your life-style, way of thinking, and your own flesh. You can continue to create your own Jesus in your own minds and lives, but then you cannot call yourselves a true follower of Jesus Christ. ”

    Susan, demonstrated my point exactly. We all, including Susan, create God in our own image. So, when we make our argument, we think we have the ultimate trump card when we say, “you are fighting God” if you fight what I am saying. Geez….. who would continue to have a different opinion? Yes, Jimmy has the bible to back him up. So does Caryn. So does Carla. So does Rufas, and Elvis, and Regis.

    Time out. If there is really going to be authentic dialogue in this or any other forum…..if we really want to convert others to the truth as we know it, we are asking those people to be open….. open to putting themselves into a position where they allow for the possibility that their position needs to change. If we are going to ask others to be open for conversion, then we have to start with that same humility and open ourselves for being converted or changed in some way.

    Starting with the assumption that the other is not a Christian if they disagree with me, would be a clear signal that I’m not looking for an actual conversation; I’m looking for a convert-sation.

    Like that play on words Caryn? You’d think I live with a wordsmith.

    Reply

  24. Posted by Carla on November 8, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    I think one of the things that’s been most upsetting to me in my recent conversations–and this one is veering closer to falling into this category–is that it’s not only my ideas or opinions that are questioned but my faith and my standing before God.

    I don’t know if people always realize that they’re doing it, but I have found this strong tendency for Christians to play the “faith” card when they disagree with each other. It is in those phrases like “how can anyone who calls themselves a Christian believe…” or “you are compromising the truths of the Bible when you…” that I find myself astonished at my fellow Christians.

    Those of you on the more conservative side can speak to the ways that has happened to you, but speaking from the liberal side of theology and politics, it happens to me a lot.

    I’m not kidding when I say I’ve been called a heretic. I’ve been called an un-Christian mother, an un-godly wife, a lost, confused pagan all because someone disagrees with me having a job or for not having my kids memorize enough Bible verses or for thinking there are other ways to stop abortion than through legislation alone.

    When those people question my faith, they presume I haven’t formed my thoughts through prayer and study and conversation and years and years and years of wrestling with an issue. They assume that because I haven’t come to the same conclusions they have that God is not at work in my life. Even if someone thinks I might be off-base, there are certainly more effective, compassionate ways to discuss differences in our beliefs than to suggest the other person is not following God, especially when we don’t even know each other.

    I’d like to suggest–and I think Caryn would agree with me here–that we do our best to avoid questioning the faith of our fellow Christians on this blog. That really won’t get us anywhere in our desire to create a safe place for women to talk about their struggles and issues. It will, in fact, do the opposite.

    Reply

  25. I’m still laughing about him now knowing what it feels like to be a Republican. You’ll really get it eight years from now! It’s part of the reason I don’t have an ulcer—because its like, “Oh good, they can start making fun of Obama now when he says something stupid. Biden too….”

    But I tease: I have the world’s lowest threshold for meanness. Sorry if I’ve gotten mean. I meant what I said, but didn’t mean to be mean… But I’ve got an even lower threshold for questioning someone’s faith.

    Just like we moms disagree on all sorts of things about our kids, so can we Christians disagree on all sorts of things. And we’re NOT going to change each others’ minds here on a dopey blog comment thread. I say we all take a breath and pray.

    God will work in each of us as he needs to. And GOD KNOWS we all need tons of work. We don’t have God or his heart or his mind all figured out. As Carla said, it’d be a pretty boring life if we did (I suspect we’ll even get to spend an eternity getting to know him better!).

    Which brings me to my next thing. On Facebook, I made a comment on someone’s wall about awkward moments in Heaven when we see each other and go, “You…? He let YOU in with your crazy beliefs and without making your kids memorize SCRIPTURE?”

    So let’s remember it’s by grace we are saved, it’s by grace that we can even catch a glimpse of God in this life, and that we’re each massive works in progress. As moms and as Christians and as Republicans and Democrats. It’s only the Libertarians who have this whole thing figured out. ; )

    Reply

  26. Posted by MaryB on November 8, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    I’m not a big political person. Those who really know me, know this. You won’t see me at any rallies, putting any signs on my front lawn, or even pulling a conversation toward politics. It’s just not me. That’s not to say I don’t have strong opinions or stands on issues that I think are important. I just prefer to keep them to myself, because I have noticed that people get really worked up over even an innocent thing like a piece of facebook flair supporting a presidential candidate. I’ve noticed recently that even if all I say is “I’m voting for McCain,” that people assume a whole heck of a lot of things about me, for instance that I’m a “conservative” or that I’m anti Obama.

    I have many Christian friends, non-Christian friends, and a passel of conservative Christian family. Sometimes I truly feel that politically I don’t belong, for the very reasons Carla spoke of. I feel like sometimes I need to keep my more liberal views very quiet, or else I’ll get the looks from my Christian friends and family, or the jokes (“Aren’t you a Christian?”) which I think speak loud and clear and are also not funny.

    The same thing goes with any conservative views I might have, with my more liberal friends. A couple years ago I went to work for a Christian organization. When I started that job, I casually mentioned the name of the organization to some of my gay friends over dinner one night. That was it. They instantly made assumptions about me and assumed a plethora of untruths about who I was or what I believed, and I’m sorry to say that was the last contact I had with some of them.

    It’s sad to think we have to keep our views and opinions silent from any “side of the fence.” I wish we could all interact with each other the way Carla and Caryn seem to do : ) I think it’s very healthy. As opposed to saying “Can’t we all just get along?”, I wish we could say “Can’t we all be unique and different and occasionally butt heads and even have some fiery conversation and STILL be friends?” I just don’t get it!

    Reply

  27. Great comments, Mary! I love this:

    “As opposed to saying ‘Can’t we all just get along?’, I wish we could say ‘Can’t we all be unique and different and occasionally butt heads and even have some fiery conversation and STILL be friends?’ I just don’t get it!”

    That TOTALLY should be the goal. And I can’t help but hope you have some sort of Rodney King media moment (that doesn’t involve you getting beat by cops or anyone else!) where you can say this to the nation and we’ll all try to live it.

    Reply

  28. I agree that it is unhelpful and inappropriate to question other’s faiths, and that a variety. Quoting my previous comment above, I see “that many important issues must be distilled into a single, basically binary choice (R or D), that this must necessarily be complex, and that reasonable people with a shared faith would not weigh all of the factors equally and come to the same result.” I agree fully with Carla that “we do our best to avoid questioning the faith of our fellow Christians on this blog” and certainly do not question the faiths of anyone posting here.

    As a (related) note, Jim’s 2nd comment quoted a “Susan” and a part of her comment about “If you are fighting these concepts, you are really fighting God,” replying with his own response about Susan demonstrating his point exactly. “We all, including Susan, create God in our own image. So, when we make our argument, we think we have the ultimate trump card…”
    I just want to clarify that the comment to which Jim was responding was not made by me (Susan A) but rather a different commentor, Susana.

    And apologies for running away with my abortion-related commentary. I do hope to see an additional post on that one (or Caryn’s tropical summit would be great too… Sign me up for that one.)

    Clearly there is a wide, bright, and interested readership for this blog, so well done Caryn and Carla for the interest you’ve generated and for the respect that many obviously have for you both. So well done you for your work and integrity here.

    Reply

  29. thank you so much for putting a link to this blog on facebook. i’m just tuning in…and as a new mom freelancing at home, this blog rings true. thank you for your honestly, even if you say it has not “gone well”.

    Reply

  30. That’s funny. And yet filled with totally anti-conservative rhetoric. At least she put in the part about people having anti-Palin/McCain things, but the overall impression is that it’s the McCain folks who are the obnoxious haters.

    This is why we need to just live by Mary B.’s thing of disagreeing, sometimes arguing, but loving each other still.

    Reply

  31. Oh, it was definitely biased for the left. But I thought it was interesting that they identified the same phenom we’ve been talking about (tangentially at least) about the way something like Facebook can create an even more heated environment because of the little snips and snipes people take at each other in their status updates.

    Reply

  32. Oh, totally. The updates are the problem. I love right now that it’s Caryn and Carla talking on our comments. Why I’m not emailing, I have no idea… We should do this on all our posts, though, so it looks like we have 12 zillion comments.

    Reply

  33. our whole blog should just be us commenting. If we could do it from various accounts, it would look like we had a bunch of hits, too.

    Reply

  34. Posted by Susana on November 10, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Susan A, I am soooo sorry that my name kind of resembles yours. I did not mean to cause any trouble or confusion. I found you guys and this link somewhere, but I cannot remember where now. I do not know where I was clicking around and I found this blog. I just had some things on my heart after the election that were heavy and I said them. It was the first time I ever “blogged”. So, I did not mean to offend anyone of any faith. My heart is full of love for everyone. I guess I was just trying to get ourselves back to some central truth that we all under one name can keep coming back to and feel safe. In this world, it just seems that everyone has an opinion and we can’t keep fighting everyone’s opinion and view of the world and whatever else. I guess that kind of scared me this week and I realized that even those who are saying they are christians don’t even have the same fundamental principles that I have been trying to live by as reading God’s word. And it upset me to think that I even have to get grief from fellow christians from basic bible principal. That’s all I was saying. I did not mean to cause any argument. I love this dialgoue. I think you guys are great. And I am so impressed at how articulate everyone is. It really brings a tear to my eye, because I have just been reading so much hate in comments and blogs and I live near an inner city and it’s just, well, it’s hard to explain. Please accept my sincere apologies if anyone was offended by what I wrote a few days ago. Oh, and thank you for letting me at least have a place to vent a bit. You don’t know how much that meant to me at that time. If I said or say something goofy, just let me know! ha! Thanks again.

    Reply

  35. Posted by Lisa J. on November 13, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    So although you all are probably really tired of this conversation, I’m feeling left out and just can’t resist jumping in.
    Clearly, it doesn’t matter on which side of the aisle we sit, we’ve all been bashed at one time or another by folks on the other side. And yes, Christians are the worst (why is that?). Too often, rather than accepting and embracing diversity and differences of opinion, we just feel threatened and angry.
    But the older I get and the more I learn about God and faith, the more I realize just how little I really know for sure.
    I’ve been a Christian for a long time and I have a pretty good idea about what I think and believe. But I also know just how finite this puny brain of mine is, and there’s always the chance that I might be wrong. So who am I to shake my finger at someone who doesn’t agree with me?
    And anyway, if we had all the answers, what would we need faith for? 🙂

    Okay…I’m off now to make some Facebook enemies. Keep up the good work my friends!

    Reply

  36. Posted by Robyn on January 7, 2009 at 11:47 am

    “You…? He let YOU in with your crazy beliefs …?”

    LOL. I think there will be a lot of that in heaven.

    I always tell people who think they get to decide whether or not other people are “saved” that there are going to be quite a few surprises when they get to heaven. There might even be (GASP) *whisper* Democrats *whisper* there.

    Reply

  37. Posted by Robyn on January 7, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    I love your November 8th comment, Carla. Truth does not change. But our understanding of it, the ongoing revelation of truth, reveals our MISunderstandings of it as God works in our lives to show us our weaknesses and blind spots. The key is having the humility to acknowledge that we, ourselves, are not the inspired divine revelation, but that we struggle throughout our lives to more fully comprehend God, who can never be fully comprehended by any living human being.

    Now we see but through a glass darkly, through our own lenses of time, culture, and experiences. Thank you, God, that someday will acheive complete harmony, seeing clearly, when we are in your presence.

    Reply

  38. Posted by Angie on February 12, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Love, understanding, and safety. These things are often hard to come by, especially when discussing politics. I was just thinking about all these things and here it is in a blog, clear and articulated well.
    I also don’t talk much about my political beliefs because of a lack of the 3 things listed above. I have had friends not talk to me for a few weeks because I voted for the “wrong” person. But I also have the coolest Godly parents in the world (sometimes:)) My sister and I both voted for Obama (OK, I have admitted it out loud) because we were praying hard about it and we felt that was the decison God had led us to. My parents did not, for many of the reasons listed in the above comments, but my parents (this is big) said that they were proud that my sister and I were able to vote the way we did and that we were comfortable discussing it with them. (We are in our 30’s and nearly 30’s, with children and families of our own).
    How loving, understanding and safe is that!?!
    Of course my dad is also the man who is as pro life as any conservative, and still gently reminds me “You know, God is pro-choice.”

    Reply

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