As pleasant and benign as I imagine I am in Michelle Church, I make people feel uncomfortable. Painfully transparent, I admit that I have questions, I have doubts and sometimes I want to stand up in the middle of, really, any group that insists it has the only answers anywhere ever, no questions and no place for questions – and scream, “Hey! Don’t break The First Rule!”*
I’m not saying no one has the answers, I’m not saying there’s not a side to the story that is true (though I doubt that anything is so black and white), I’m simply saying that even if you are right, there is no reason to break The First Rule.*
The other day I was sitting in The Apple Store, biding my time and saying a little prayer that I wouldn’t get a parking ticket and cruising Facebook, when a friend posted this status:
“I think there is a great sifting happening in the world. And I can’t help but wonder if which “side” you end up on has less to do with your stated alliances, and more to do with the way you speak about those you perceive as “other”.”
And I said a silent “Amen.” And I was only silent about it because I was at the downtown store and there were an inordinate amount of police around and I didn’t want to appear crazier than I normally appear which can, in fact, seem quite a bit crazy. But I totally wanted to say it out loud. Really loud. Loud enough to get arrested at the Apple Store.
You see, I have friends from all walks of life. I have extremely conservative friends and I have remarkably liberal friends as well. I have Mormon friends and Catholics and quite a few Jewish friends.
I have friends who remain religiously unaffiliated, kind of looking at life and taking it all in without judgments. I like them all. They are all quite lovable and have amazing strengths and insights. I’m a lucky girl.
But the world is a complicated place and as I walk through this life with all sorts of people as my companions, I cannot help but become incredibly uncomfortable with angry sides being taken over important issues. I cannot see how I will ever influence others to my views if in trying to do so I belittle them. I don’t believe in catching flies with vinegar. For that matter, I try not to hang out with flies at all. It’s just not my thing.
And so, my friends, all of you from all walks of life with all sorts of opinions and beliefs and ways of living your lives, carry on. Live your life and your morals with all the might and gusto you have. Live free and unfettered of other people’s beliefs for you. I commend you. But for the love of all things that are good and holy, for the best of all of God’s creations, please allow everyone else to do the same without vitriol and viciousness.
Can I get an Amen?
*An indelicate rule, The First Rule, is, nonetheless, applicable to ALL circumstances. The First Rule: Don’t be sh*tty.
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