Fear {and Chick Fil-a}

Monday, August 6, 2012

Well, the last time I blogged it was 8 days before my birthday. Now it is 8 days after. Where does the time go?

I'm feeling defeated by this whole Chick Fil-a situation. I'm sick of talking about it and sick of hearing about it -- so it only makes sense that I'd have something to say about it on my blog, right?

Actually, I don't really have that much to say. Rachel Held Evans wisely penned words to Christians on both sides of the debate. Matthew Paul Turner came up with five reasons why the church failed on CFA Appreciation Day. So much has already been said; I don't necessarily feel the need -- or have the desire -- to pontificate on the issues. I do see both sides of the debate. I don't whole-heartedly agree with either side, nor am I impressed with how either side has behaved. I feel stuck in the middle & quite discouraged about the whole thing in general.

Yesterday morning at church our small group talked about it, and when someone asked me how I felt, I said that I felt sad. We discussed the ever-widening gap between conservatives and liberals, evangelicals and progressives, Christians and non-Christians, people-like-you and people-not-like-you. I'm sad because I fear that gap is ever widening, and I fear there is no hope of common ground.

Speaking of fear....

I've been seeing a therapist for a while; I've found it to be immensely helpful to talk through my life with someone entirely outside of my circle of family and friends. We met most recently on Friday, and we talked about my Type A personality, my desire to control everything, and the fear I experience when I'm not in control. Fear, I said? I don't feel afraid. But you are, Dianne said. You're afraid of the consequences of what will happen if you're not in control. You're afraid of failing; you're afraid of other people failing. You're afraid of being let down, of being disappointed -- of being a disappointment.

Sometimes she's so right I find it annoying.

When I think about the situation with CFA, I think about the wider issue of fear. Why can't we -- whomever we are, whatever ideals we hold, whatever "side" we align ourselves with -- why can't we shut our mouths, open our ears, and pretend like there just might be something we can learn from our neighbor? Why do we fear each other so much? Why do we feel like having an open mind is a weakness?

I'm tired of self-righteousness. I'm tired of judgmentalism. I'm tired of an attitude that says "you're wrong, and I'm right." I'm seeking a community that elevates people -- human beings with stories and opinions and dreams and fears -- above anything and everything else. A community that's not afraid of ideas. A community made up of diverse people with a myriad of opinions & beliefs. A community that's slow to speak, slow to anger, and that doesn't judge.

Jen Hatmaker wrote that she's creating that kind of community in the basement. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather be down there than up here these days. Like her, I wonder: "What happened to civil discourse? What happened to basic human respect? What happened to good men and women pulling up a seat at the table together and navigating differences with dignity and regard? What happened to listening? What happened to humility?"

Wasn't it FDR who said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself? That statement has never rung so true to me before now.

I'll tell you this much: I'm not afraid of you. I'm not afraid of your beliefs, thoughts, opinions, desires, dreams, ambitions -- I'm not afraid of your sexuality. I hope you won't be afraid of me. I think we could learn a lot from one another.

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