You know, I work with a guy who has a very strong Christian faith. He's one of the very best people that will ever walk this world too.
He and I have many political differences. But, he and I have very similar basic human values, boundaries if you will.
He's got that faith there to draw on, and will when it's appropriate. When people ask, he's always willing to share. When they don't, he's always willing to share.
See the difference?
Often, that which I see him share is the SAME, regardless of whether or not he invokes faith as context for the discussion. And it took a while, but I get it! He's speaking to THEM, taking the time to understand who they are and then communicating along the common lines to make it matter. This is powerful, and it's true and it really matters to those participating.
A whole lot of people could learn from this. I have. More than he knows.
The other thing we have in common is the basic human needs and wants and we both know it. So then, political differences are there, but we both have families, needs, risks, stories, questions, and the politics are there to provide some frame work for answers, but the answers themselves come from our basic human thoughts on it.
Common ground is to be found there, if you can separate these things and treat people like the peers they really are.
Here is the best. He knows he can unabashedly invoke faith with me. Sometimes, it's good to talk from the different perspectives, and knowing who somebody is lies beneath what faith they have.
Lots of people could learn from that too, and it's profound once you experience it. I know who he is, and I know that faith matters and so it makes perfect sense to discuss it. Why wouldn't I? And more importantly, should I not expect the same consideration in return? Damn right, and that's what peers are all about.
There are a few such people in my life. Some of them have faith, some of them don't, and the faith is different for each one who has it. These people make living here worth it.
Perhaps that's the other basic message I would send. Getting caught up in the numbers game, or theological Pokemon, dilutes what is otherwise a basic human interaction and the world is a little less when that happens.
Above all, what I enjoy most is the basic presumption that we are good people who have good intent in this world. When we reason out from there, lots of things play out very differently. When it starts to be that theological Pokemon game, a mere label sets up so many barriers it's not even possible to talk on anything other than some shallow, already played out, set piece level. Frankly, life is too short for that shit.
I don't want to make it about the particular faith. I know what the authors intent is, and that's good intent. Valuable. But, it just should not be about that on a basic level. All of us here are in precisely the same boat, and we all have to come to terms with what it means to be a human here and how we do that is how we do that and it has to be that way, because there quite simply isn't anything to force it otherwise.
And that is my final point. Many of those who encounter that realization see it as some threat or other, and that is a shame really. Doesn't have to be. Ever, and ideally we all can feel no fear or shame over who we are and what we believe.
So many barriers prevent that, resulting in lies, barriers, shame, judgement, and all manner of ugly things we really don't need in this life.
This guy gets that, same as me. And he got there through faith, same as I did through basic rational thought and empathy for those around me.
Notable. And something I value quite highly if you want to know the truth.
---and, I think that is a primal, basic truth about us. I think that, because every single person I've ever encountered who can understand what I just put here, got there somehow. No two the same in my experience so far, yet they pick up on others who grok it quickly, despite considerable differences.
Posted on December 3, 2013 - 10:37 PM