Posted by: nieophyte | April 28, 2009

In All Things, Charity

I received an email from a former editor with a freelance writing assignment. A church in Illinois is running a campaign to sell uniquely packaged water bottles with it’s church’s logo in order to raise money for clean water in Haiti. I scoffed. Is this for real? Don’t they  know that water bottles are part of the problem? Ridiculous!

And then I felt the spirit rebuke me. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, Nieo.

I’d fallen into that typical trap for many progressives out there — the arrogance that comes from thinking you’re right. We get this way, I know we do. We look at conservatives and think, they just don’t get it, do they!? How can they possibly believe the things they believe? We eye people’s plastic bags at the grocery stores with disdain. Ugh, we think, earth killers! We write manifestos about the honor and truth behind progressive ideals and vilify those on the other side as evil, ignorant, or malicious. But the reason we feel we can do this is because … I mean, hello? It’s true!

That might be right, but that’s not the point when it comes to dealing with the other side.

I’ve been doing some research about the abortion debate because it is such a volatile and polarizing subject, and I’ve been incredibly encouraged by the efforts to find common ground between the two parties, prochoice and prolife, with a vision to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion. Many staunch advocates from either side are coming together to say, we have our differences, but here is where we can meet in the middle. The picketers are putting down their signs, the policymakers are opening their doors, and both parties are coming together in peace to dialogue and come together with the common goal of a lower abortion rate in our country.

To them, I say, Bravo. Both sides have plenty of reason to think the other is crazy. One side views abortion as murder. The other side views abortion as a medical procedure that women should be willing to choose. The fact that these folks are willing to come together beyond differences is astounding to me. I take their example as a lesson learned.

We all have cousins, friends, and colleagues who hold different philosophies. I say in the midst of difference, we do our best to remain humble, listen, and learn, and that way, when we do speak truth the power and opposition, we can do it while still maintaining our witness of Christ’s love for all and to all.

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Responses

  1. I share your sentiment. I’ve always been turned off by the militant nature of “debate” (demonization) in the strongholds of either party, Democratic or Republican, conservative or liberal, etc. or etc. (FTR I am a lefty leaning kind of person.)

    I would say this occurs equally on both sides. We’re human, after all. And conservatives probably do more of the “evil” name-calling, given that many liberals don’t even believe in evil. Snobbishness is certainly a gift of the lefties, though.

    Great post. I will always try to check myself.

  2. I agree with this goal: “to remain humble, listen, and learn, and that way, when we do speak truth the power and opposition, we can do it while still maintaining our witness of Christ’s love for all and to all.”

    But I want to see the rough location that the pro-life and pro-choicers are going to meet in the middle before I join them there, and I imagine that my leftist friends feel the same way.


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