Tim’s Note – This was written by my friend Joey. Although we do see the world very differently we not only coexist peacefully, but we have learned a great deal of other perspectives that we did not inherently grow up in. As a follower of Jesus I have learned that before I can speak into someone’s life, I must first be genuinely interested in their life as Jesus is so genuinely interested in our lives. I hope these words are heard and that we as Christians continue to build bridges instead of burning them. -TW
P.S interested in writing a post for us? Shoot me an email at Drumminelsewhere@gmail.com
When there is breaking news, I tend to check all of the major sites. Just to get an idea of what each individual site has to say. And I also (shudders) check the comment sections. That is never a good idea, for anyone. What I find so maddening, is that each one takes their respective side. Offering partisan talking points. Glossing over important information to further absorb a story into a rhetorical philosophy. A political war between the left and the right. Between democrat and republican. Between one side and another. It’s 24 hours a day. 7 days are week. On the radio. On the internet. It is an endless cycle. It can create a cloud of confusion and misinformation quickly, which in turn tends to turn the conversation from a lively debate into a personal bloodbath.
I met my friend Tim about 7 years ago. We worked together at Starbucks. Tim and I are two people with a vast ocean of differences between us. Tim is a Christian. I am an atheist. Tim is straight. I am gay. Tim was homeschooled. I went to public school. Between the two of us we have lived uniquely different lives. We have both been fortunate enough to see some of the world outside of our tiny east coast lives.
Our entire relationship as friends is rooted in the sincere fascination and exploration of our differences. And guess what? While we may disagreed on a number of issues throughout our friendship we have allowed each other the space and dignity to express our thoughts and feelings without arguing. Without trying to win the debate. Instead, we both said what we had to say and then (this is the important part) We shut up and listened to what the other had to say. We didn’t talk over each other. We didn’t try to dehumanize the other. We opened our ears and we opened our hearts.
Despite all our disagreements we are two equal individuals who sit down at the table in the name of fairness and brotherhood. We try to understand the other. Including our backgrounds. Our upbringing. Our strengths and weaknesses. So that we may try to understand where the other is coming from. It is precisely why Tim and I have learned so much from each other.
Van Gogh’s Starry Night isn’t just one star. If it were the painting probably wouldn’t be remarkable. It’s a painting full of stars. Van Gogh’s style and vision created something remarkable. As people we are not just one star. We are a sky full of them. We are complex. We are nuanced. We have flaws: sometimes we make mistakes and we are wrong – and that’s ok.
The point is that socially, we need to be better. Let go of all that anger. Let go of the incendiary language both sides equally use. Start talking to each other with more respect. Because it’s not about taking sides. It’s not about Pro- this or Anti- that: the only label that really matters is Human Being. It’s not about taking our country back. It’s about taking our humanity back. Our charity. Our kindness. Our ability to live with one another despite all those things that make us different.
We need a reconciliation. A new language and way to speak to each other. A new dialogue with our brothers and sisters in this world. We are not inspired by those who are just like us. We are inspired by those who challenge what we think we know. Those people who allow us to grow. Those who motivate in us to be better.
Consider this: There is is rise in new narratives. For liberals you have a re-emergence of populism with the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. And for conservatives you have Rand Paul and Nick Gillespie and many voices for populism and libertarianism. The old system does not work. We are not simply a liberal or conservative. We are more than being a democrat or republican. We are much more complex. We contain much more depth and nuance that these old machinations of representative democracy allow us. We are being held back by our rather easy habit of falling to one side or another. More than anything we need balance.
We live in a fast moving fast changing world. We do not resemble past generations. It is time to let go of all the old world thinking that limits us from moving forward and facing the tough challenges that indeed lie ahead. The moment you think you have all the answers Life will turn it all upside down. In this life we must commit to learning. I learn something new about this world and myself everyday. I encourage you to do the same. Seek out those who challenge you. Seek out those who reveal and teach you lessons you did not know you needed to learn.
Peaceful coexistence is entirely possible. However we must stop choosing sides and condemning the other. The old adage of walking a mile in another’s shoes is still to this day the stepping stone to a deeper level of compassion. Which inevitably leads to a stronger sense of connection and love in this life.