These days, there is no shortage of people talking about the following:
Daily, we are inundated with news feeds and surrounded by conversations revolving around these two topics. And I have come to this non-genius conclusion: people are missing the point.
Humanity being different is somewhat akin to Trump thinking NFL players taking a knee is about the flag and being a good ‘ol ‘Merican citizen.
Now before you go off and tell me I am the one missing the point and that I have no idea what it’s like to be…<insert your example from your perspective here>…hear me out.
How do most people go about trying to be a part of the diversity conversation? I argue one of two ways. Either you see people rising above the epic amounts of non-diversity by first listening to other viewpoints and then spending time learning about and being around that which they do not understand, – or, you have people perpetuating the problem by acting antithetically. You know, spouting off at the mouth before they even HEAR what the other “side” is saying because they are so busy telling everyone in view/social-media radius about themselves. And everything they know.
Why they are right.
Why they matter and someone else who doesn’t think the same way does not.
Not only did my husband say to me earlier this week that “You know, the more I live with you the more I realize you have to be right about everything” (ouch, plus wow, plus that just made HIM right for a change!), but I also received some very honest reviews from a speaking thing I did at a women’s church conference recently.
While I a thousand percent appreciated the honest feedback (there are absolutely things I can and will improve upon, no question), it turns out my husband was also right when he asked, “Are you sure this is the right crowd for you to be presenting to?”
When he first asked me that, I rolled my eyes because I was just so excited to have been asked to TALK(!) in front of people(!) that I dismissed his question under the heading of I thought he was slightly annoyed that I was going to be gone all day on a Saturday. I was like, Honey, pleeze…I’ll be home by 7:00 and what could go wrong? These are fellow women, fellow human beings, fellow church-goers, fellow sinners who also love Jesus – PLEASE! Gimme a break, this is gonna be great!
Ok, at what point in my life am I going to stop being a moronic dolt? Just because I have a longer Intellectual Book List than I do a Grocery List does not mean I’ve mastered being non-naive.
My message, to a room filled with women, is that women are catty and judgmental. We are quick to judge, persecute, gossip about and exclude each other. All the time. But hey, it’s ok because we are “Christian women” and ultimately, we really do love each other.
They loved me so much that at least two women “stopped listening to me after I said something during a break that they didn’t agree with my theology/viewpoint on.” That is literally a sentence I received in my feedback. One woman heard me say something and then she started discussing it with another woman, who also apparently became offended.
Now, as I mentioned, I honestly am appreciative that my friend in charge of the conference shared that situation with me. She is a phenomenal woman, mother, wife, church leader and Christ-follower. I value her and I respect her.
But, um…does that not pretty much sum up the entire point I was trying to make?
My message to that crowd of “diverse” women was simply this: We are NOT on opposite sides of the team – we are in this thing called life together. Or at least we should be. It isn’t how we were made (i.e. in the likeness and image of God) that causes us to be divisive; it is society that teaches and conditions us to be on opposite sides of the team. WE create the divisiveness. WE create the stupid narrative. WE are the problem.
This is pretty much a no-brainer, I get it. But if we KNOW this and presumably want to CHANGE this, recognition of the problem can no longer be enough; we have to understand and embrace that WE are also the solution.
Or at least we can be if we shut up and start talking about the right things instead of our own viewpoints and how every other person we know is a worse sinner than we are.
Christianity, I’m pretty sure (even though my “sarcasm and liberal theology” may be off here) isn’t about acting like a bunch of mean Middle Schoolers.
It is about inclusion. Love. Acceptance. Forgiveness.
Everyone’s story is different. From our different backgrounds, the different ways we’ve been hurt, our different opportunities or lack thereof, to exclusions based on gender, sexuality, race, religion, economic status, (or a bad decision one night circa the 1990’s) – the giant paradoxical elephant in the room is that we use those differences to be the same.
To matter. To be included. To be loved, accepted and forgiven.
We are all human beings who want to be, deserve to be and were made to be loved, accepted and forgiven.
Jesus does that – no matter the differences in story lines or other people’s reviews thereof.
And to THAT end I say, “So who wants me to speak at your next event?”