Getting Political With It

I posted on my Facebook page last night that I was going to start “getting political” on my feed. I posted that because I’m going to start sharing some articles and my thoughts on some things going on and inevitably people may bemoan that I’m “getting political”. I’m using the quotes on purpose because this phrase is used most often when someone posts something that someone else disagrees with. Usually the people are friends or relatives and what I notice is that these people have other things in common and would just rather not contend with the idea that they don’t actually 100% agree on every issue. So, instead of listening and learning about a different viewpoint, they complain that the poster has “gotten political”. Now, often it’s done in a passive-aggressive way on their own page talking about how people are messing up Facebook by getting political. I think Facebook is getting messed up by bots and trolls and people not using common sense before entering into discussions, but I digress.

Anyway, before plunging into the fray of controversial topics, I thought it would be useful to lay out some of my foundational beliefs and experiences. These are the things about me that are true and that have formed where I am today. Perhaps this will only be useful to me, but hopefully it will give you a glimpse of where I’m coming from when you see my posts pop up in your news feed (if you don’t hide me first).

I am a super-christian-y Christian. I played baby Jesus as a baby. My dad was my pastor for most of my life, and now my mom is. I grew up steeped in church culture – we were at church any time the doors were open (and usually before they were open to anyone else). I grew up in the parsonage (a home owned by the church that the pastor and his family gets to live in). It was NEXT DOOR to the church my dad pastored. I can sing every Veggie Tales song, and STILL get Psalty-the-singing-song-book songs in my head. I grew up on DC Talk and Michael W. Smith. Amy Grant got a little edgy for us.  Basically, what I’m saying is that I fully identify as a Christian, even though not everyone uses the word the same way.

I’ve voted Republican in almost every election since I could vote. I remember telling someone a long time ago that I was morally conservative but fiscally liberal – believing that taking care of the poor and underprivileged was a duty that the church wasn’t willing or able to take on and therefore, the government needed to step in. It was always a conflict heading to the polls, but usually the moral argument and my cultural upbringing that skewed Republican won me over. I remember the righteous indignation of Bill Clinton rising to the top. We were aghast at the immorality that seemed rampant in his lifestyle. He seemed to me a fool – one that won people over quickly with charm and a chuckle that made me suspicious.  I value integrity and I sensed none there. I loved George W. Bush and was excited to vote for him the first time. It was during his tenure that I started to see more and more gray in what I had initially conceived as a black and white world. By the end of his term, I was already feeling politically lost, and was ambivalent about Obama winning, except to be happy for my friends of color because they seemed SUPER happy.

I’ve experienced firsthand the hassles and indignities of wading through the quagmire of government assistance. When we were seeking every resource available to children in our care through the foster system, I came face to face with the realities of Medicaid, WIC, and other county and state programs that were initiated with the stated purpose of assisting the underprivileged but with the actual experience being humiliating, confusing and still favored towards those with the privilege of excess time and resources.

Several years ago, a friend of mine, who now is quite well known, wrote a blog post entitled, “A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On.” You can google it if you like – I’m sure it’s still out there. It’s a moving piece about her journey of belief and love. The thing that struck me about it though was that her mountain wasn’t my mountain. Hers wasn’t one I was willing to die on and if it wasn’t that one, then what was it?? Where is my line in the sand? What mountain would be worth dying for? To be honest, there isn’t one out there in the current debates that I’d die on. We’ve got lots of issues and there are multiple ways of handling them. I can definitely get passionate about many issues and have strong feelings about certain policies, but even so – issues and policies aren’t where you’ll see me throwing down.

I love Jesus. I love the people he made (that’s all of them, by the way).  I believe in the inherent value of every person.

That about sums it up. Onward.

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Owning it – an update

First – I can’t believe it’s June and this is my first post of 2018! It has been a full year so far!

Back in January over on Facebook, I posted some intentions for the year along with a phrase/word for the year. My word was “ownership”. Here’s what I said in January:   I want to “own” my life instead of letting things happen by default, or sliding into commitments. I’m taking back the reins!

So how’s it going? Well, I do feel that I’ve been stepping with intention through some open doors and intentionally closing some others that don’t seem right for this season. But one of the things I’m noticing as I’ve decided to live more intentionally this year is that some of the pieces of my life are more separated and compartmentalized than I think is good. So a new component of my ownership journey is going to be trying to bring more of my whole self everywhere I go.

I think some of the separation is pretty normal and is just a part of life. My circles of influence don’t always intersect so it doesn’t always feel natural to talk about school stuff with work people or church stuff with the softball team (or for that matter to bring up my high schooler’s schedule with the preschool moms – that’s one way to bring a conversation to a stunned silence). We all live full lives and it’s not always obvious what everyone does when they’re not with you in that one particular sphere. It is one of the reasons I love social media. It gives us windows into the spaces in our friends and acquaintances’ lives that we otherwise wouldn’t see. Now, obviously those windows are carefully curated and don’t offer a full picture, and it can sometimes be disorienting. I can remember lots of times when I posted something on Facebook on Instagram and then someone in real life talks to me about it and I’m surprised that they know I did XYZ because that activity rarely comes up in our normal interactions.

But outside of these natural separations, I often feel a sense of being vulnerable when I let them overlap some. It feels easy to talk about owning my own business and talk to people about the services I offer when I’m in a networking meeting or surrounded by other entrepreneurs. And it feels natural to be singing and playing my guitar at church as the Worship Leader.  But if one of those clients or potential clients walked in the door of my church while I’m on the platform? Or if someone at church asks me the “what do you do?’ question?  I feel suddenly out of place, nervous, out of place, and unsure.

I’m noticing these uncomfortable places and trying to work out how to own my whole self through the discomfort. Owning and bringing all these parts of my life into alignment feels like a worthwhile project. I hope to share more about it here on the blog.